Teagasc’s Next Generation Herd (NGH) at the Dairygold research farm in Kilworth, near Moorepark, has been performing well.
This herd of elite animals will be compared to heifers that represent the national average EBI.
The mean NGH calving date in year one of the study (first lactation) is Feb 12.
Early production data has indicated notable differences in performance in line with that predicted by the breeding values.
The indications are that milk volume, lactose concentration and live weight are similar for both elite and average animals, while both milk fat and protein concentrations are higher for the elite animals, resulting in higher milk solids output. The elite animals are also exhibiting a definite propensity to maintain higher body condition score.
Research in the herds will involve detailed observations on routine performance traits; these will include milk production and composition, milk quality (somatic cell count and mastitis), fertility measurements, body-weight and body condition score as well as difficult-to-measure traits such as those concerning milk processability, feed intake, energy balance, and methane emissions.
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