THE €10,000 first prize in the Economic Breeding Index Discussion Group Competition, which promotes better breeding on dairy farms, was jointly won this year by two groups from the midlands and the south-west.
Damer, with members principally from Tipperary and Laois, and Crookstown in Co Cork shared the top award. Each group achieved 473 marks out of 500.
It was the first time there were joint winners of the competition which involved over 1,000 dairy farmers, members of 74 dairy discussion groups from around the country.
Tipperary was the winning county, with 11 participating groups, who will share a €5,000 prize fund.
There were nine other category winners in the competition, whose €42,000 overall prize fund was sponsored by ACCBank.
Run in association with Teagasc, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and the Irish Farmers’ Journal, the awards were presented in Fermoy, Co Cork.
Sean Farrell, national agri-manager, ACCBank, said the improvements in EBI being achieved in some herds are an example to all milk producers of what can be achieved within local discussion groups.
ICBF chief executive Brian Wickham praised the increases in quantity and quality of dairy replacements achieved by group members.
Teagasc dairy specialist George Ramsbottom said there is a strong link between high EBI and profitability on farms.
“The improvements that have flowed from the higher rate of adoption of the participating groups of better genetics, identified through genomic selection, is one of the most pleasing aspects of this year’s competition,” he said.
IFJ dairy editor Jack Kennedy praised all the groups on the improvements in performance they are now achieving.
Crookstown Group consists of 12 dairy farmers, is chaired by Liam Leahy and facilitated by Teagasc adviser Seamus Lordan.
Damer Group consists of 22 dairy farmers principally from Tipperary and Laois, is chaired by John Butler and facilitated by Teagasc’s Matt Ryan, Fintan Monahan and Michael Hogan.
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