Milk recording on Irish and UK farms has gained significant popularity in the last few years.

A recent survey conducted by Herdwatch found that over three quarters of dairy farmers in the UK and Ireland are now milk recording in order to monitor cow health and improve herd performance.

And, the latest data set from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) shows a 12.9% increase in the amount of recordings that have taken place in 2022 vs. 2021 on Irish farms.

Milk recording

The Herdwatch survey also revealed some big differences in why farmers in either country choose to milk record.

Cow performance and somatic cell count (SCC) are still the two main reasons why Irish dairy farmers are recording their cows, whereas in the UK, SCC tops the chart alongside tracking Johne’s disease.

It is thought that up to 30% of all herds in the UK are infected with Johne’s disease, which causes huge financial loss to some farmers.

2022 will likely see more Irish dairy farmers milk recording than ever before.

Since January of this year, under the new Regulation (EU) 2019/6 on veterinary medicinal products, the blanket use of antibiotic dry cow therapy is prohibited in Ireland, ultimately meaning that farmers are no longer allowed to administer dry cow tubes to all cows in the herd by default.

This is part of a global plan to reduce the use of antibiotics in food chains, which have been increasing the level of antibiotic resistance in humans.

As a result of this, farmers will need milk recording information to prove that their cow requires antibiotics.


Milk recording is only part of the process and more importantly than the recording itself, is understanding the data that comes back.

“Interpretation of milk recording data and the information that it provides will have a critical role to play in the development of breeding plans on farms in the future,” Conor Vaughan from Herdwatch said.

“Its importance will become even more critical as blanket dry cow therapy is phased out.”

Farmers that are using Herdwatch can use the milk recording and performance dashboards to easily select their best and worst cows.

They can then select cows for breeding replacements from, select cows for culling, and make sure problem cows are not being bred and ultimately, reduce herd SCC and improve herd performance.

The use of more selective breeding will increase herd EBI, solids and fertility.

“We know the importance of milk recording to Irish and UK dairy farmers, so we introduced the milk module in the Herdwatch app last year,” Vaughan added.

“You can view your milk recordings in Herdwatch by herd average and/cow in the performance section of the app.

“This will help you identify your best and worst performers to make better decisions on farm through easy access to milk yield, proteins, solids, SCC and more.”