Rhys Davies

Location: Flintshire

Destination: Ireland

Topic: Impact of the EBI on the Irish spring calving grass based herd


Rhys Davies

Rhys Davies from Flintshire will visit Ireland

Rhys takes an active role in the family dairy enterprise in Holywell, Flintshire. They have 100 milking cows and about 80 young stock and are mainly spring calving with the aim of getting as much milk from grazed grass as possible. He has been collecting breeding and performance data for the herd for many years. Efficient milk production from grass based systems focusing on high EBI cows will be the focus of his exchange. The visit will benefit the herd’s improvement by allowing Rhys to clearly see the benefit of using robust selection and breeding tools that allow for optimised grassland utilisation by a true type efficient milking cow.

“Currently our breeding policy is a little cloudy as we use the full range of available indexes mentioned alongside the £Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) and any genomic testing of females is only available in the latter, meaning a lot of educated guesswork when it comes to drawing up a mating plan.

“Therefore as an outcome of my exchange visit to Ireland, I intend to design and use a breeding tool to collect and interpret data on the spring calved cow using linear, production and fertility information - using genomic data where possible - to help plan for corrective and complementary breeding.

“A result of this would be a potential increase in milk solid production per hectare and a reduction in bought in feed and vet costs due to grazing a more efficient feed converter that has less health issues and improved fertility.”

Management Exchange Report