Calf numbers up by 20,000 this year
Dairy herds are calving earlier this year, with a 20,000 jump in the numbers of calves registered so far, according to figures from the ICBF.
Statistics show that total calf birth registrations in the first seven weeks of the year are at 445,902, up from 425,054 over the same period last year.
Dairy registrations are up 28,000 at over 360,000, while beef calf registrations stand at just over 85,000, down over 7,000. Teagasc dairy advisor George Ramsbottom said there has been a significant rise in the number of dairy herd births.
"There are more cows on the ground and it is a combination of an improvement in fertility and earlier mean calving within the herds," he said.
"The downward trend in the calving interval is a positive thing." Mr Ramsbottom said there has been earlier and more compact calving reported.
Fabien Peyaud, developer of the Herdwatch app that allows for on-the-spot registration of calves, also confirmed calf registrations through the app were about six times ahead of last year with almost 40,000 calves registered in seven weeks.
He said the data seemed to confirm an earlier calving pattern this year. However, he cautioned that herds were larger and the uptake of the app had increased to almost 3,000 which would also be driving up the figures.
He said herds using the app recorded an average calving interval of 366 days in 2015, compared with 392 nationally.