Latest dairy trends

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The latest genetic trends and production statistics for Australia's national dairy herd have just been released in the 2010 Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Report, published jointly by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) and the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA).

Wes Judd, ADHIS Chairman, said the data which is collected through herd recording, provides some interesting insights about the industry*.

For example, the following insights relate to herd-recorded dairy cows in 2009/10:

Protein production by Victorian cows is almost 20% higher now than it was in 1990.

Almost half (43%) Australian dairy cows calve in the months of July/August/September.

Most dairy cows are bred via artificial insemination (72% of herd recorded Holsteins, 69% of herd-recorded Jerseys and 90% of herd recorded Australian Red Breeds).

On-average an AI cow is $53 more profitable each year than a naturally bred counterpart.

About half (45%) of Australia's 1.6 million milking cows were herd recorded in 2009/10.

On average, herd recorded cows produced 30% more milk than non-herd recorded cows (Dairy Australia in Focus 2010 and ADHIS 10).

Over the past decade, about 30% of productivity gains achieved have been the result of genetic improvement.

A dairy farmer himself, Mr Judd said that the herd recording data for his cows was an essential tool use for making a variety of management and business decisions.

"We use herd recording data for decisions about breeding, mastitis management, culling and feeding. And of course, our data goes into the ADHIS data base for the calculation of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs), bull proving and tracking national trends such as in this report," said Mr Judd.

ADHIS is an initiative of Australian Dairy Farmers', with most of its funding coming from Dairy Australia through the Dairy Services Levy.