At this stage in the year, most dairy farmers are approaching 11 or 12 weeks of breeding. Cows served today won’t calve until mid-April, and if a beef bull is used they will probably carry a few weeks longer.

The longer the breeding season lasts, the lower the empty rate will be, so you have to look at the overall picture. At an LIC open day last week, host farmer Joe Kirwan said he remembered last spring when he was inseminating cows on one side of the crush while there were still cows waiting to calve in the calving shed.