EBI average up 40pc in three years since milk quotas lifted
There has been a 40pc increase in the average EBI since the lifting of the milk quota restrictions on production in 2015, according to the latest breeding statistics, writes Martin Ryan.
However, the figures show that there has been a decrease of 34pc in the sub-index for beef on the dairy herd, which is becoming a major concern for the beef sector - it is already being reflected in the deterioration in the grading of beef animals at the factories.
Almost three in every four calves born within the dairy herd are now going for beef production, following the decline in the sector cow population.
The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) reports that the average dairy EBI recorded on more than a million dairy cows in 2018 was €95.95 compared to an average of €68.36 on 924,000 in 2015. Over 75pc of dairy cows are now displaying an EBI index.
The average EBI index figure has grown consistently, increasing from €17.32 in 2010 - an average rise of almost €9 per year.
"When we look at the figures in more detail, the average EBI figure of €95.95 is made up of €28.8 for milk sub-index, €37.64 for dairy fertility, €27.52 for calving, minus €10.42 for beef, €9.32 for maintenance, €1.37 for management and €1.63 for health," an ICBF spokesperson said.
"While most sub-indexes have seen improvement, the beef sub-index has seen a decrease from -€6.94 to -€10.42 between 2010 and 2018."
However, the figures for yield and milk solids have continued to improve.
Back in 2010, the milk kg PTA (predicted transmitting ability) was -11kg; this figure has grown to 51kg in 2018.
Fat kg and protein kg have also grown from -0.5kg and -0.6kg in 2010 to 5.0kg and 3.9kg in 2018 respectively.
The national dairy herd increased from 1,064,080 head in 2010 to 1,399,449 in 2018, and the number of cows with an EBI index went up from 705,695 to 1,050,341.
The table below shows the overall state of performance in the national dairy herd for 2018 and the consistent improvement in each of the sub-indexes over the past eight years, with the exception of the beef side of evaluations, which show a significant decline.
Work is in progress on a dairy beef bull list as a corrective measure, but beef finishers, who have an increasing dependence on the dairy sector for supplies, are concerned at the deterioration in the beef sub-index within the dairying sector.
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