Report Synopsis

Future genetic trends for grass based dairying

Ray Hunt

The Irish dairy sector has tremendous potential to be one of the most sustainable sources of high quality milk and dairy products to satisfy strongly growing global demand. Irish milk production has been shown by the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to have the lowest carbon foot print in Europe.

Through the implementation of the Sustainable Dairy Assurance System, farmers are proving through audits carried out every 18 months on every farm that this is the case. But while Irish farmers are doing a lot of things right, they need to do more to face the challenges of sustainability, herd and cow fertility, and animal health.

This report explores the impact and measurement of genetics in dairy herds internationally and sets out to make recommendations for Ireland to improve the sustainability and efficiency of its milk production by focusing on genetics and analysing new and emerging genetic technologies.

The report also examines Ireland’s Economic Breeding Index (EBI) system and outlines the effect it has had on the national dairy herd whilst also pointing to the future viability of this breeding index model.

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