Jersey usage in the dairy herd declines by over 17% – Agriland

Posted: April 26, 2020 at 3:56 am

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has released data analysing the births from the dairy herd. There have been a number of interesting trends emerging with the analysis covering a five-year period from 2016 to 2020.

Firstly, one of the most notable trends is the decline in the use of Jersey genetics in the national dairy herd.

After several years of steady growth, there was a significant decline in 2019, resulting in a 17.3% reduction in the number of Jersey-bred calves born for the year-to-date. This clearly reflects the challenges associated with finding markets for lower-value Jersey male calves.

In spring 2019, some 41,000 Jersey-bred calves were born on Irish farms; however, this has fallen to just over 34,200 calves in 2020 and this is predicted to decrease further in spring 2021.

Secondly, the use of beef genetics in the dairy herd has increased by 7% from 2019 to 2020, and by just over 36% over the five-year period; this is welcome news for the beef industry.

As expected, both Aberdeen Angus and Hereford continue in first and second position respectively, accounting for 78% in total, but other beef breeds have witnessed growth albeit from a much lower base.

Leaving Angus and Hereford aside, Limousin-sired calves are placed in third position with some 37,923 calves on the ground to date an increase of 5% on 2019 levels.

The Belgian Blue breed is next with some 19,744 calves born up to April 16; this represents a jump of just under 4,000 calves or an increase of 25.4%.

Finally, the beef breed which increased the most was the Aubrac, with some 7,277 calves born on Irish dairy farms a 55.3% increase from 2019.

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Jersey usage in the dairy herd declines by over 17% - Agriland

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