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New dairy breeding guidelines

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The guidelines focus on improving the quality of calves coming from the dairy herd.

New breeding guidelines, focused on improving the genetic merit of all calves from the dairy herd (both dairy and beef calves), are being issued to herd-owners.

The guidelines, compiled by a Department-led dairy calf working group consisting of key industry stakeholders, focus on improving the quality of calves coming from the dairy herd.

Areas covered in the guidelines include:

  • The generation of high-EBI replacement females for the dairy herd;
  • The use of the new dairy beef index for generating higher value beef animals from the dairy herd;
  • The use of breeding tools such as the ICBF herd EBI scorecard, the ICBF sire advice tool, and the ICBF active bull lists for dairy and dairy beef breeding.

The letters are being sent by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and will also contain a new ICBF herd EBI scorecard.

“The new scorecard is designed to help herd-owners identify the strengths and weaknesses of their dairy herd from a genetics standpoint.”

Increase profitability and sustainability of farms

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Welcoming the development, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, highlighted and acknowledged the contribution of industry stakeholders to the development of the new breeding guidelines.

“The new guidelines are a result of the collective effort of all stakeholders working together, to ensure that we continue to improve the quality of calves from our dairy herd in the future”.

Michael Doran, chairman of ICBF, also acknowledged the benefits of the new herd EBI Score Card: “Helping farmers identify where their herd is strong or weak from a genetics standpoint is a major step forward for our industry, as it will help herd-owners focus on the traits that will increase the profitability and sustainability of their farms in the future”.

Some 15,000 letters are currently being posted, with all due on farms this week.

More information

To obtain further information on these guidelines, please contact ICBF Herdplus on: 023 8820452), your Teagasc advisor/agricultural consultant and/or your local AI company.

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