Managing Your 2021 Breeding Season

With the 2021 breeding season on the horizon, now is a good time to start planning. To help support this, we have developed a set of breeding guidelines to improve the sustainability and resource efficiency of your dairy herd in the future which dairy farmers have recieved in the post this week

These guidelines have been developed by the DAFM-led Calf Stakeholder Forum, consisting of key industry stakeholders, including DAFM, farmers, ICBF, Teagasc, the National AI companies, the milk and meat processing industries, Bord Bia and Animal Health Ireland. The guidelines include a simple 6-point plan, which if followed, will ensure the continued improvement of your dairy herd into the future.

In addition, this group has agreed the following overarching principles for our future dairy herd, and these principles are supported by the breeding guidelines.

The goals are to breed a dairy cow that is:

  • healthy and resource efficient, (requiring fewer interventions, less labour, and less N and P use on farm),
  • sustainable (profitable and carbon efficient), and
  • will produce calves that can integrate into our beef industry.

We would encourage you to reflect on these goals, especially in the context of your own dairy herd. You can do this by looking at your ICBF Herd EBI Strengths and Weaknesses report, which is the first point on the 6-point plan.

Sample EBI Scorecard

 Finally, we would remind you that the best way you can achieve these goals is to maximise the use of AI on your herd this coming breeding season. By using a team of high EBI AI bulls to breed your dairy herd replacements, followed by a team of high DBI AI beef bulls to generate new calves for onward rearing by beef farmers, you will help maximise the future profitability, sustainability and carbon efficiency of your farm and the broader industry into the future.

Best wishes for your forthcoming breeding season.