Compact calving stresses will only increase until farmers get to grips with issues
At a recent a discussion group meeting the issue arose of compact calving and the impact it might be having on dairy farmers.
The general consensus of the group was that compact calving will have a negative impact on farmers unless they look closely at three areas in particular; hiring of labour, calving/calf facilities and preparation.
In 2010 the average herd size in Ireland was 53 cows. In 2016 that figure had increased to 85 cows, and in 2017 the average herd size will probably be around 90 cows.
This means that on average every farmer in Ireland is calving down 37 more cows now than they were seven years ago.
All of this combined has led to a significant increase in spring workload.
Coupled with this, the fertility of the national herd has also been increasing steadily.
In 2010, the average cow in Ireland had a calf every 402days. In 2016 that figure was down to 389days, all of which has led to a significant increase in the number of cows calving down in the first six-weeks of the calving season. On average 58pc of our herds nationally calve in six weeks.
If we combine this with the national herd size of 90 cows then this would suggest that 52 cows (and heifers) are calving in the first 42 days of the calving season, which should be manageable for most.