Milk recording plays a crucial role on dairy farms, providing valuable information to dairy farmers. With a focus on selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) on farms, having data on each cow is important to ensure it is used correctly. Milk recording aids in controlling milk quality and cell counts, and is also vital to ensure cows are performing to the level they should be. This data can be used to select cows for breeding replacements and beef sires, as well as for culling from the herd.
The latest data from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) shows that 867,877 cows have been recorded so far in 2023, which is 3.9% ahead of 2022. For the same period in 2022, some 835,624 cows had been recorded. Based on the data, 7,894 herds have completed a milk recording in 2023.
Cell counts have been an issue on many farms throughout the spring, with a number of factors likely contributing to this. Firstly, many farmers used SDCT for the first time on their farms, and it is possible that it was misused or used on the wrong cows. It is important that milk recording data is used and a discussion is had with a vet and milk quality advisor to set the threshold for each farm. Secondly, the weather and the fact that many cows spent more time housed rather than at grass could have contributed to cell count issues.
Milk recording information is essential to get cell counts under control, but farmers should also be performing a California Mastitis Test (CMT) on cows. This test identifies which quarter is to blame for cell count issues, allowing farmers to treat the affected quarter. The CMT should be performed regularly to ensure that cell counts remain under control.
In addition to controlling cell counts, milk recording data can be used to improve overall herd performance. By identifying which cows are underperforming, farmers can take steps to improve their health and productivity. This data can also be used to select cows for breeding replacements and beef sires, as well as for culling from the herd.
Overall, milk recording is an essential tool for dairy farmers. It provides valuable information on individual cows, allowing farmers to make informed decisions about their herd. By using this data to control milk quality and cell counts, as well as to improve overall herd performance, farmers can ensure the long-term success of their farm.