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HomeDairyIrish and UK farmers reveal why they milk record
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Irish and UK farmers reveal why they milk record

Over 75% of dairy farmers are now conducting milk record tests across Ireland and the UK to monitor cow health and improve herd performance.

That is according to a recent survey that Herdwatch conducted, which showed notable differences between why farmers in either country milk record.

Cow performance and SCC are still the two primary reasons why Irish dairy farmers are milk recording.

But across the waters in the UK, SCC tops the chart, as does tracking Johne’s disease.

2022 will see more Irish dairy farmers milk recording than ever before.

Since January 2022, under the new Regulation (EU) 2019/6 on veterinary medicinal products, the blanket use of antibiotic dry cow therapy is prohibited in Ireland.

This means you are no longer allowed to administer dry cow tubes to all cows in the herd by default (blanket dry cow therapy).

In a previous article, Sinead Quealy, managing director of Virtual Vet, provided more details to our readers, which you can read.

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Herdwatch’s survey results:

In Ireland:

  • 82% of farmers said they want to know the performance of cows;
  • 67% said it is to stay on top of high SCC cows;
  • 34% milk record to practice selective dry cow therapy;
  • 8% want to know the Johnes status of their herd;
  • 6% undertake this as part of a supplier contract.

In the UK:

  • 71% want to stay on top of high SCC cows;
  • 57% of farmers said they want to know the performance of cows;
  • 52% want to know the Johnes status of their herds;
  • 24% do it as part of their supplier contract;
  • 7% undertake this to practice selective dry cow therapy.

Herdwatch introduced a milk module in its app last year, which allows farmers to view their milk recordings by herd average & per cow in the performance section.

According to Herdwatch’s digital user acquisition specialist, Conor Vaughan, this will help farmers identify their best & worst performers to make better decisions on-farm through easy access to milk yield, proteins, solids, and SCC.

He commented: “Interpretation of milk recording data and the information it provides will have a critical role to play in the development of breeding plans on farms in the future.”
“Its importance will become even more critical as blanket dry cow therapy is phased out.”

“Using the milk recording and performance dashboards in Herdwatch, you will be able to easily select the best cows for dairy replacements improving the overall EBI on the farm, selecting culls, and making sure problem cows are not being bred and, ultimately, reducing herd SCC and improving herd performance.”

“Selective breeding will increase your EBI, solids, milk reduction, and fertility as well as having an SDCT process.”

“Combining and analysing milk recording information in Herdwatch can easily be done and help to make better on-farm decisions,” he concluded.

Key features of app:
  • Easy recording of medicines and feed purchases for compliance;
  • Scanning of medicines and ear tags with a phone camera;
  • On-the-spot calf birth registrations;
  • Record weights in seconds;
  • Manage full breeding cycle, fully integrated with ICBF.


  • 96% customer satisfaction index;
  • Saves members approx. 3 hours a week on farm paperwork;
  • Members can spend more time on what matters to them;
  • Make better decisions on the spot – driven by actionable information;
  • Truly mobile – works fully offline;
  • Works on duplicate devices;
  • Safe – all data is stored securely in the cloud.

Earlier this year, we interviewed Eoin Moloney, who is Herdwatch’s head of customer success, which you can read.

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