Calving dates pushed back by three to five weeks
Dairy calf registrations down by 13pc as farmers take no chances on fodder
The calving date in the dairy herd has been significantly pushed back by several weeks, after farmers faced extreme hardship with weather and fodder difficulties last spring, the latest official figures show.
Dairy farm representatives are putting the slippage in the calving date nationally for 2019 at three to five weeks, which was mainly due to a planned change by farmers in the sector.
The official dairy calf registrations are down by 13pc to mid-February, compared to 2018.
The ICBF registrations for dairy calf births have put the stats for the year to date at 277,742 compared to 319,733 for the same period in 2018, a drop of 29pc without taking into account the increase in the national dairy herd.
Last week 117,880 dairy calves were registered compared to 131,287 for the same week in 2018.
Gerald Quain, ICMSA dairy chair, said that the figures are broadly in line with the situation in herds generally.
"Following the fodder crisis in the spring of last year, farmers who didn't want a repeat of the experience took the decision to push back the calving date by three to five weeks to calve closer to grass for the average spring," he said.
"I am getting that message from dairy farmers all over the country because of the hardship and extra costs that they experienced last year.