Dairy cow num­bers set to rocket as in­dus­try booms

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

THE num­ber of dairy farm­ers will fall by more than 2,000 to 15,500 by 2018 but the na­tional dairy herd will in­crease to 1,382,000 cows by the same year, ac­cord­ing to Tea­gasc’s lat­est dairy in­dus­try pro­jec­tions.

The dairy roadmap to 2018 fore­sees an in­crease in the av­er­age herd size to 89 cows, while the av­er­age milk de­liv­ered per farm will in­crease to 458,123kg.

Ire­land's na­tional milk pro­duc­tion will in­crease to 7,101m tonnes in 2018, which would be an in­crease of 39pc above 2008 or 43pc above 2009 lev­els.

The ma­jor­ity of this in­crease in milk pro­duc­tion above 2009 lev­els will be pro­duced in the south­ern half of the coun­try.

In tan­dem with the ris­ing num­bers of dairy cows and heifers, the area of land de­voted to dairy pro­duc­tion will in­crease in the com­ing years. Tea­gasc ex­pects an in­creas­ing num­ber of beef and tillage farms to con­vert to dairy­ing in the com­ing years, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing the re­moval of milk quota reg­u­la­tions.

While cow num­bers will have in­creased by 25pc dur­ing the decade be­tween 2008 and 2018 and milk pro­duc­tion per cow by 13pc, the green­house gas emis­sions per unit of milk pro­duc­tion will ac­tu­ally be re­duced over the same pe­riod.

Tea­gasc pre­dicts nu­mer­ous im­prove­ments in tech­ni­cal per­for­mance on farms be­tween now and 2018.

Av­er­age herd EBI is ex­pected to al­most dou­ble from €75 now to €140 in 2018, while the con­cen­trate fed per cow will be re­duced from more than 1,040kg cur­rently to 750kg in 2018.

Milk yield per cow is ex­pected to in­crease from 4,661kg to 5,140kg in 2018, while milk solids will in­crease from 334kg to 378kg.

Calv­ing in­ter­val will be re­duced from 389 days cur­rently to 380 days in 2018, while the mean calv­ing date will be brought for­ward by six days from March 16 to March 10.

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