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The key traits in dairy replacements to maximise income

Teagasc specialist Joe Patton and ICBF geneticist Kevin Downing join Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge to explore the key traits in dairy replacements to maximise income on Irish dairy farms.

Joe identifies fertility as the most important trait, regardless of the production system, to ensure cows calf  at the right time of the year giving cows the opportunity to remain in herds over multiple lactations.

Good fertility performance has a knock-on effect on increasing production potential and reduces the number of replacements required annually which gives rise to greater profitability.

Kevin urges farmers to assess the current EBI status of their dairy cow herd and identify any deficiencies that exist. From there, farmers can set the priorities for the future milking cows and select the bull team for the upcoming breeding season accordingly.

Both Kevin and Joe emphasised the substantial genetic gain attainable though breeding heifers with high EBI AI straws, but despite this, 30% of dairy heifers born in 2020 were from a stock bull.

Joe recommends that farmers consider synchronising programmes to AI all replacement heifers in a short timeframe.

For more information go to: https://www.teagasc.ie/breedingweek/

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast visit the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge