The best management advice for dairy farmers…start by getting off the tractor

The best management advice Cork dairy farmer Laurence Sexton has for fellow dairy farmers is to ‘get off the tractor’.

“You can get loads of help to drive the tractor every day of the week and the most important jobs you have are on the ground/management jobs,” he said.

Working in a partnership, he said that he knew from the get go that a partnership would suit him and the set up he has allows him to milk every second week, which gives him every second weekend off.

Speaking at the recent Teagasc seminar on Dairy Expansion, he said that mploying workers on the farm too, he says, with designated jobs ensures that people know their roles.

He calves two thirds of the herd, while his farming partner calves the last third on his farm, so no one is wrecked, he said.

He also said that if you train staff brilliantly, they will be brilliantly. “Make sure they are best they can be at what they are good at.”

An off-farm hobby, he said, is also a must. “You have to take up something to get you off the dairy farm, if nothing else it stops you spending money on the farm.”

Shane Fitzgerald said having twins saw ‘expansion mode’ in full swing on his farm in recent times, while his workman left to go back to the building trade, but they are all issues to be dealt with.

He also said that it’s important not to bring farm issues into the house. “When you arrive in to two kids screaming you can’t bring your problems into the house.”

He also advised to try simplify things on the farm. “Be very strategic in what you need on your dairy farm and where you will save labour.

“Don’t do it for the sake of doing it, you need it to be labour saving, so anyone could come in off the street and manage it. You need it to work that well.”

He too identified calving as an area to outsource if possible. “I got an night calver in for February. He doesn’t have to be that good, he just needs to be there watching the.” Last year, they lost no calves and he puts that down to having a night calver watching over things.

“It also means when we arrived in the new calves were put away, tagged and we’re ready to go and fresh.

“If someone is willing to do it, I’ll pay him to do it.”

Walter Power said that cows don’t benefit from having any more than an eight-hour milking interval and farmers don’t seem to realise it.

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