'About one in every five cows is being carried on a long holiday - we have a lot of passengers'
More focus needs to be placed on herd fertility and culling in order to achieve dairy efficiency and profitability, says Teagasc dairy specialist Joe Patton.
According to Mr Patton, for every 100 cows calved in the Borders Midlands West region of the country, only nine are born using AI sires - and more time needs to be spent picking bulls and using AI sires in order to increase this number.
"This figure is kind of hard to believe. We need to spend time picking bulls and use more AI straws. The culprit for lack of progress here is poor decisions around stock bulls. It's a lazy, easy decision to pick a good stock bull. If he was a good stock bull he'd be AI," said Joe.
He added that having a compact calving season is key to improving fertility year on year.
"You need all cows calving in February and March and some in the tail end of May and June. Then start the breeding system in early May and finish in July and anything after that is culled as empty.
"That's the system, that's what works, it's good for labour efficiency and feed efficiency and overall management of the farm. There's a fixed end date put on the breeding system," he said.
"Our figures are showing that about one cow in every five is being carried on a long holiday and that's contributing to the fact that we're not getting a high annual yield of milk production for the season because we've a lot of passengers."