Fertility woes costing liquid milk farmers €20k per year
Fertility problems in liquid milk herds are costing farmers more than €20,000 each year, new research from Teagasc has revealed.
Long calving intervals on Irish farms result in reduced milk yield, higher feed costs and lower replacement heifer numbers, farmers at the national liquid milk conference in Wexford last Thursday were told.
Liquid milk expert Joe Patton warned that farms with a calving interval of 443 days were losing €20,700 per year, compared to farms with a calving interval of 375 days.
His figures were based on a 100-cow herd producing 7,000 litres/cow at a milk price of 30c/l.
Mr Patton estimated that up to 40pc of cows on farms were being recycled, or rolled over from one calving period to the other on liquid milk farms due to fertility problems. This was adding to the costs of production, he said. The average calving interval on liquid milk farms in Ireland is 436 days.
Higher recycling levels lead to lower milk volume sales, higher feed costs and a reduction in the number of replacement heifers produced from the herd.
Mr Patton warned liquid milk producers that they needed to focus their breeding strategies on fertility when choosing AI and stock bulls and cull poor-performing cows.