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  • Publication
    Trends in cow numbers and culling rate in the Irish cattle population, 2003 to 2006
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2008) ; ;
    Cows are the main economic production units of Ireland's cattle industry. Therefore, demographic information, including overall numbers and survival rates, are relevant to the Irish agricultural industry. However, few data are available on the demographics of cows within a national population, either in Ireland or elsewhere, despite the recent development of comprehensive national cattle databases in many EU Member States. This study has sought: to determine the rate of cow culling from the national herd; to determine the rate of culling by type (dairy, beef), age, method of exit, date of exit and interval between last calving and exit; to calculate the national cow on-farm mortality rate; and to compare the Irish rates with published data from other countries. This work was conducted using data recorded in the national Cattle Movement Monitoring System (CMMS). Culling refers to the exit of cows from the national herd, as a result of death but regardless of reason, and cow-culling rate was calculated as the number of cow exits (as defined above) each year divided by the number of calf births in the same year. Culling rate was determined by type (dairy or beef), date of birth, method of exit (slaughter or on-farm death), month of exit and interval between last calving and exit. The average cow-culling rate during 2003 to 2006 was 19.6% (21.3% for dairy, 18% for beef). While comparisons must be treated with caution, it concluded that the overall rates of culling in Ireland fell within published internationally accepted norms. The on-farm mortality rate of 3.2-4.1% was similar to that reported in comparable studies.
      541Scopus© Citations 30