The number of calves born on Irish dairy farms has increased by almost 300,000 over the past decade to an estimated 1.3 million in 2018.
In addition improving dairy herd fertility is resulting in a more concentrated calving season.
With this in mind, Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland in conjunction with the dairy milk processors Arrabawn, Aurivo, Centenary, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Lakeland Dairies and Tipperary Co-op supported by Volac, have joined forces to organise a series of ten CalfCare events.
Two will be taking place in Tipperary.
David Graham, CEO, Animal Health Ireland said: “AHI is delighted to be working in partnership with Teagasc and the eight Dairy Coops involved in the running of these CalfCare events. This is the sixth year of organising the events and interest continues to grow each year. I would sincerely like to thank all the host farmers for agreeing to host the events on their farms. Without this cooperation and assistance, it would not be possible to hold these events.”
Speaking at the launch of the events, George Ramsbottom, Teagasc said: “Our research shows that well reared calves are more productive and profitable during their lifetime. While things are improving, only 60 of replacements born in 2014 calved at two years of age and one in five never calved. So, further improvement in the standard of calf rearing is essential.”
According to Dr. Tom O’Dwyer Teagasc, “With specialisation and expansion in dairying continuing to occur, more calves will be sold at an earlier age from dairy farms. All newborn calves should receive the same high standard of management around calving time whether they remain on farm or are sold shortly afterwards.”
Pat Cahill of Volac who are sponsoring the series of events said: “We are delighted to be supporting the events for the sixth year in a row. They serve as a timely reminder to farmers of the important things to do around calving time. Interest in the events has been huge with last year’s events attracting over 2,200 farmers.”
Johne’s disease control continues to be an issue of concern according to Lorna Citer, Johne’s disease Programme Manager with Animal Health Ireland said: “One of the topics presented at these events will focus on preventing and controlling this disease in young calves when this disease is picked up.”
Each of the events will focus on four topics:
* Johne’s control in the young calf;
* Disinfection of calf housing and equipment;
* An update on calf housing specifications;
* Saving labour during the calving season.
All events start at 11am and will take place at the following venues and dates in Tipperary:
Centenary Co-Op Event on January 11 at the farm of Rory & Mairead O’Regan, Knockroe, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
Tipperary Co-Op event on January 19 at the farm of Tom & Patricia Moran, Ballygriffin, Golden, Co. Tipperary