2 dairy farm walks set to take place this week

Two dairy farmers who took part in the Teagasc/Glanbia Monitor Farm Programme are scheduled to hold farm walks this week.

Paddy O’Gorman’s end of programme farm walk will take place on Thursday, September 27, at 11:00am in Rathkeevan, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

Since taking over the running of the family farm in 2009, Paddy has almost doubled the size of his dairy herd.

He is on course to be milking 200 cows by 2019, with 190 Holstein Friesians being milked in 2017.

By 2014, Paddy had grown the size of the herd to 140 cows. He was then asked to join the Teagasc/Glanbia Monitor Farm Programme – which aims to help dairy farmers promote sustainable growth post-quotas.

This spring, the Tipperary farmer decided to lease extra land – increasing from 88ha to 100ha, with a milking platform of 60ha.

Commenting on the programme, he said: “I’ve learned a lot from the Monitor Farm Programme; it’s been very positive. I have good contact with the Teagasc advisers.

The other farmers in the programme act as a discussion group as well. I have good contact with them too and get a lot out of meeting with them.

“The Monitor Farm Programme has helped me to keep a very sharp eye on all of the figures, be it grass or milk yields – but also finances,” he said.

Laois farm walk

Meanwhile, another participant in the programme – Martin Davin – will also hold his end of programme farm walk later this week.

It is scheduled to begin at 11:00am on Friday, September 28, in Eglish, Rathdowney, Co. Laois.

Martin took over the family farm in 1999 after his father, Tim Davin, was diagnosed with leukaemia and decided to take the early retirement scheme.

In 1999, the Davin’s ran a mixed enterprise – with tillage, beef and 27 dairy cows.

With the help of a grant that was available to young farmers, Martin built a new 8-unit, double-up milking parlour in 2004. Following this, he converted a haybarn and bought some quota – expanding the herd to 40 cows in the process.

Martin inherited 12ha in 2009 and with the possibility on the horizon that milk quotas would be removed, he steered his enterprise towards dairying and set his eyes on further expansion.

When he entered the programme, the Laois farmer was milking about 76 cows – this number has grown to 125 in the past few years. He now sees 130 cows as the optimum number for his spring-calving herd.

Speaking about his participation in the initiative, he said: “The programme has taught me to work smart, so that I can free up time for jobs which feed into decision making – and to step back and do more planning for the farm.

“Beforehand, I was measuring grass and I had figures; but I didn’t have the confidence to act on the figures. Now I’m using the information to make improvements.”