Are you milking to 100% efficiency?

Are you milking in the most efficient manner possible and getting the most out of your cows?

Farmers can find this out and maybe pick up some useful information by attending free ‘Smarter Milking’ demonstrations that will be held around Ireland this summer.

FRS Training, Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland (AHI) have teamed up with four dairy co-ops around the country – Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Aurivo and Lakeland Dairies – to bring dairy farmers these demonstrations on “how to achieve smarter milking and become more efficient and cost-effective”.

The series of events – which are open to all farmers and farm workers alike – will run through June and July in counties Waterford, Kerry, Galway and Meath.

The events will cover the areas of better cow flow, best practice milking technique, standard operating procedures, producing high milk quality and how to be more cost effective.

Cow flow: This will cover developing positive experiences for the cow on the lead-up to and in the parlour to improve milk let down and productivity.

Best practice milking techniques: This includes preparation, milking in batches, cluster management, reducing repetitive strain injury and teat management.

Standard operating procedures: How to write effective standard operating procedures will be covered to provide direction to improve communication and consistency.

Milk quality: The important topic of producing the highest milk quality throughout the milking process, including milk recording, will be demonstrated with specific emphasis on reducing Somatic Cell Counts (SSC), Total Bacteria Counts (TBC) and Thermodurics.

Tips on how to reduce energy costs will also be shared, according to organisers.

The overarching source of information shared through these events comes from the Best Practice in Milking Course, which has been available to farmers since 2014 and has trained hundreds of new and experienced milkers throughout the country.

This two-day QQI Level 6 course is developed and ran in conjunction with FRS Training, Teagasc and AHI and is partially funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Smarter Milking schedule of events

The ‘Smarter’ demos will take place in four locations around the country; one for each of the participating co-operatives.

These will be held at the following farms on the given days:
  • Glanbia: Wednesday, June 20, on Andrew Claxton’s farm, Kilminnin, Stradbally, Co. Waterford (Eircode X42YK57);
  • Kerry Agribusiness: Wednesday, July 11, on John Lawlor’s farm, Ballysheen, Abbeydorney, Co. Kerry (Eircode V92 W635). Parking for this demon will be available at Abbeydorney GAA grounds, with a shuttle bus service provided;
  • Aurivo: Wednesday, July 18, on Tim Kelly’s farm, Clorane, Athenry, Co. Galway (Eircode H65 XY05); and
  • Lakeland Dairies: Thursday, July 19, on David Hannon’s farm, Tir Na Ri Farm Ltd, Derrypatrick, Drumree, Co. Meath (Eircode A85 PD65).

Commenting on the demos, Pat Reilly of FRS Training said: “We wanted to give farmers the knowledge of how efficient milking can make a big difference on a dairy farm.

“The events are open to all farmers and we promise that they will be engaging and worthwhile for everyone – where the top tips will be passed on.”

Meanwhile, Teagasc’s Padraig O’Connor also noted: “This is a great opportunity for dairy farmers and their staff to see first-hand an efficient milking process.

These ‘Smarter Milking’ events will outline a practical approach on how dairy farmers and their staff can implement techniques to allow for a more efficient milking process.

Grainne Dwyer of AHI added that the events “are designed to assist dairy farmers and their staff in the efficient production of high-quality milk, which will increase output and profitability”.

Those interested in attending an event can contact the FRS milking course’s Facebook page for further details.