Milk recording has become an increasingly important management tool used on Irish dairy farms.

Yet 2020 saw what can only be described as a stall in the uptake of milk recording across the country, with many of the providers ceasing operations for a period of time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

With the restrictions continuing for most of 2020, many farmers chose not to start milk recording.

It has been highlighted on several occasions that the use of milk recording data will be of the upmost importance heading into 2022 and beyond.

This will particularly be the case when the blanket use ofantibiotic dry cow therapy (ADCT) will no longer be allowedon Irish dairy farms, due to changes in EU regulations.

Milk recording benefits

Milk recording offers manybenefitsto farmers other than the tracking of somatic cell counts (SCC).

These include: tracking worse and best producers, adding value to excess stock, increased compensation available for TB positive animals and pregnancy diagnosis through a milk sample.

2019 vs. 2021

Some of the increase can be attributed to rising cow numbers across the country; from data released by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) we can see that the number of herds has increased from 6,533 in 2019, to 7,626 in 2021.

To date, some 868,900 cows have been recorded in 2021, a 26.7% increase on the 2020 figure and a 20.5% increase on 2019 figure.

Munster Bovine has so far recorded the largest number of cows in 2021, with 492,191 cows having been recorded up until June 4, an increase of 68,741, or 15%, from 2019’s figure.

Progressive Genetics recorded 356,929 cows so far this year, an increase of 87,346 cows or 27% compared to the 2019 figure. The large growth experienced by Progressive Genetics will have been aided byAurivointroducing its milk recording programme.

蒂珀雷里has recorded the largest growth compared to 2019, with 19,708 cows recorded in 2021 – an increase of 5,516 or 32.4%.