Following last week’s release of the HerdPlus Dairy Calving reports, the national 6 week calving rate has seen some improvement this year. The figure is now 63% vs 58% in 2016. There are 2 reasons for this:
- The six week calving rate is now calculated from first calving date or first expected calving date (whichever one comes later). The reason for this is in the case of premature births that the 6 week calving figure will not be affected.
- The national 6 week calving rate is improving. When you compare last year’s figure without applying the above new logic, the figure comes out at 61% for 2017 (an increase of 3%).
ICBF can report a small slippage in the calving interval of the national dairy herd. The average calving interval increasing by 2 days from 389 days in 2016, to 391 days in 2017 (See graph above). While this may appear to look like a reduction in fertility performance, further analysis shows us that while calving interval has increased by 2 days the median start calving date has also increased by 2 days from 27/01/2016 to 29/01/2017. This suggests that herd-owners have chosen to start calving later in 2017 vs 2016. This is in line with the message from Teagasc last year to delay the start of inseminations with herd fertility improving and with more and more shorter gestations bulls being used herd-owners were starting to calve too many cows away from grass.
Most figures within the calving stats have seen improvement for example females not calved in the period has improved by 0.5% from 7.8% to 7.3%. To see the full list of calving stats click here.
These figures indicate that while we are still off the targets identified by Teagasc as being required to ensure a profitable dairy industry by 2020, we are making steady progress. For example, the average calving interval of 391 days compared to an industry target of 365 days. Similarly, the six-week calving rate is at 63% compared to an industry target of 70%. Therefore, it’s important that we continue to focus on high EBI bulls with a high fertility sub-index.
See how you compare, check out your latest HerdPlus Dairy Calving report today by logging into your HerdPlus account and selecting ‘Reports’ – ‘Calving’ – ‘Dairy Calving Report’.