Martin O’Hare is a new entrant to dairy farming having made the switch from a beef enterprise last year. We spoke to Martin about his dairy enterprise and the positive fertility performance of his herd by using GAIN Spring Breeder.
“We are milking 80 British and Holstein Friesian cows, on a 60ac milking platform, 100% spring-calving herd.
“We made the switch to dairying because we can see a real future in producing a high value commodity for consumers.”
Tony Brennan is Martin’s GAIN business manager. Martin believes that Tony is extremely professional in terms of offering expert advice and guidance when it comes to driving herd performance.
“Tony is excellent. I can rely on him to guide me on what will work on the farm. He calls to the farm regularly and we chat on the phone at least once every week to make sure all is working okay. We would look at cow performance, herd health, grass yields and breeding strategies,” Martin explained.
GAIN Spring Breeder and fertility
Martin was very impressed with his 2020 breeding season. Based on last year’s figures, 95% of Martin’s herd went in-calf after an eleven-week breeding season.
When it comes to herd fertility, Martin is quick to highlight the crucial role that GAIN Spring Breeder plays in ensuring that his herd is in optimal condition for breeding.
“Having the cows in the right body condition is key in having a successful breeding and subsequent calving season. GAIN Spring Breeder gives my cows all that they need to make sure they are ready.
“We have had a very successful calving this year, with little to no difficulties. We started on January 24, and only have five left to calve,” Martin said.
Martin has been using GAIN Dairy Breeder and GAIN Spring Breeder since entering dairying: “I give the cows GAIN Enhance when they are in the shed to start building condition and switch to GAIN Spring Breeder when to cows head out to grass.
“At breeding time in particular, I find that the Novatan in GAIN Spring Breeder really helps with the cows’ fertility.”
GAIN Enhance Dairy Nut is a 18% protein, premium early lactation feed for cows that boosts the output of milk solids and is suitable for cows being fed silage. During Feburary, Martin’s cows averaged 2kg milk solids (ms) per day.
It has a balanced energy profile that ensures a steady transition if you are switching from silage to grass in the spring.
It contains the key ingredient Novatan that significantly improves feed utilisation in the rumen by increasing energy and protein utilisation.
When at grass full-time, Martin switches to GAIN Spring Breeder, a 13% protein nut that supports milk solids and fertility. It contains three critical components; Novatan, and bioplex protected minerals and selplex from Alltech.
Novatan increases the protein available for milk production, reduces scour and increases fertility. Bioplex copper supports fertility, bioplex zinc supports hoof and udder health, while selplex selenium improves somatic cell counts (SCC), mastitis and fertility.
When it comes to managing grass on the farm, Martin places a massive importance on grass measuring. “The farm is regularly walked to determine grazing covers and grass measure at least once every week so I know how many days grazing ahead I have. If any paddocks are getting too strong, I can pull them out for silage,” he explains.
“Last year, we grew 15t/DM/ha, which we were very pleased with. When we kept a beef enterprise on the farm, we were part of the Better Beef programme where there was a massive focus on growing as much quality grass as possible, and this has massively helped since we’ve made the move to dairying.
“We have really seen the benefits of reseeding in terms of maintaining milk solids during the 2020 grazing season. With a herd of heifers we delivered 457kg of milk solids last year.”
Martin is very optimistic about the future of his farm having made the switch to dairying. Martin aims to expand the size of his herd and maximise his grass growth and utilisation.
“The future looks very bright for us. My wife Eilish and the kids play a massive role in making this possible. We are aiming to increase cow numbers slightly over the coming years but ultimately not put too much pressure on the grazing platform.
“We want to continue to focus on maximising grass efficiency to drive milk solid improvements throughout 2021.”
New GAIN Momentum Programme
The new GAIN Momentum Programme launched this spring. The objective of this programme is to add tangible value, increase efficiency, environmental performance and profitability on farm.
This is a results driven integrated programme comprising four main categories; Great Grass, Herd Nutrition, Herd Health and Milk Solids.
Herd Nutrition focuses on heifer-rearing, lactation performance and bespoke diet formulation package ‘Rumenade’.
For more information on our GAIN Momentum Programme click on the link here to view the digital brochure.
Trading Bonus Scheme
The Glanbia Co-op Trading Bonus Scheme encourages, recognises and rewards active members of the co-op for trading with the business they majority own, Glanbia Ireland.
- Opportunity to get €10 back on manufactured feed, purchased by dry shareholder farmer co-op members;
- Potential 4% return to dairy farmer co-op members who trade at 5c/L. The 4% return is equivalent to a €12/t discount on a €300/t product;
- Potential 5% return to dairy farmer co-op members who trade at 8c/L. The 5% return is equivalent to a €15/t discount on a €300/t product.
For more information, please contact your GAIN Animal Nutrition representative, Glanbia branch or visit glanbiaconnect.com.