Thursday 29 September 2016

Milk solids up by 30pc and herd EBI rises to €171

Published 25/05/2016 | 02:30

The Greenfield farm has increased its milk solids by 30pc, the latest figures show.

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The EBI of the herd has increased to €171, with the fertility sub-index up strongly due to the cross breeding and genetic improvement.

"We've increased our milk solids 30pc since 2011," said Teagasc's Abigail Ryan, with the 10pc increase in milk production attributed to the hybrid vigour from the Jersey. "Last year we sold 400kg of milk solids on 180kg of meal fed per cow. Cross-breeding and good genetics has certainly delivered this for us."

The AI-reliant farm opted for mainly crossbred bulls. Out of around 600 straws, some 100 were Friesian, and the remainder were Jersey, Kiwi-cross and Norwegian Red.

Ms Ryan pointed out with 60pc of the herd crossbred the size of the cow had gotten smaller. "They actually cull themselves. This is a large herd with a long walk and we need them to have good feet for them to survive here," she said.

Despite surface dressing roads, lameness has proven a problem this year with the wet spring and it is vital that this is treated early.

She pointed out cell count was one of the biggest issues on the farm, although they avoided a penalty and didn't go over the 200,000 mark for the main part of the year.

The team teat sealed heifers last year, with a long dry period for any cow with high cell counts and any with continuous problems had the quarter dried off. "The only cows here that cured from treatment were the first and second lactation cows," she said. Repeat offenders were culled and a second herd set up with high cell count cows.

They vaccinate for the "big five" - IBR, salmonella, lepto, BVD and for the last two years for rotovirus.

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