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.