Richard Neary milks 240 cows at his farm in Modeshill, Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary, with plans to calve up to 280 in 2021. His focus is on breeding well-framed Holstein/Friesian cows, with the capacity to produce large volumes of milk from a combination of grazed grass and a moderate concentrate intake.

Richard explains his plans for next year: “Calving will get underway at the beginning of February with the season lasting for 10 weeks thereafter.

“This year will see the herd averaging 6,800L with approximately 1t of meal fed per cow. I have the land base to further expand the scope of the business, which was why the decision was taken to up the cow numbers further next year.”

Successful dairy farming requires healthy young stock

To push numbers for next year and beyond, the young stock coming through needs to be healthy. Recent weeks have provided Richard with opportunities to apply the AHV non-antibiotic approach. He has recently been using the AHV Respi powder on a group.

He takes up the story: “A group of weanling calves started coughing badly prior to being housed. To get on top of the problem, I was advised to mix AHV’s Respi powder in with their meal for 10 days.

“Initially, I thought this might have been the wrong approach to take as the coughing seemed to be getting worse. However, matters did improve as the days passed. But, for me, the real verification of the decision taken was the improvement in the weanlings after housing. I have never seen a group of cattle thrive so well at this time of the year.

The positive difference in their performance levels now compared to what they were doing out at grass is incredible.

AHV’s Mike Hannon was a recent visitor to the Neary farm. He explained that Respi acts to assist the immune system of young calves and weanlings, especially the respiratory system.

Mike explains: “In the initial few days of using the product you will notice calves coughing more which is perfectly normal. Calf Respi is designed to deactivate the pathogens which is causing the health challenge, helping to break up the mucus in the lungs – hence the coughing.

“It also reduces any swelling in the lungs that the calf may be experiencing during the clearing out process. Combined with AHV Aspi, the calf’s recovery is supported optimally and once the lungs have been cleared the calves will continue thriving.“

Mike adds: “The powder can be added to calf milk, calf starter and weanling rations.”

Richard’s experience with AHV Respi is followed-on from his use of the AHV solution range over a considerable period.

New thinking a must on successful and up-and-coming dairy farms

Richard believes that successful dairy farming requires a commitment to the application of new thinking and methods on a continuing basis. He also has a strong view that all decisions relating to the business must be based on fact and actual performance.

“This is why milk recording is such a strong management tool,” he stressed.

One issue that Richard has addressed head-on over recent years is the need to reduce the use of antibiotics within the whole business. The AHV solution range has helped Richard to achieve this goal in relation to high cell count and mastitis-related problems.

He commented: “The monthly milk recording results allow me to identify cows with a high cell count problem. It is now standard practice on the farm to give such animals an AHV Extra Tablet. Doing this will cleanse out the udder tissue and combat the infection.

“It’s an approach that is working. The AHV Extra Tablet acts to reduce cell count levels within a short period of time. It is important to note that the SCC [somatic cell count] levels may increase after the tablet is administered, and then should gradually fall as the udder is being cleansed out. The fact is, I have not used antibiotics to treat any milk quality related issue for months.

A key benefit in taking this approach is the fact that whilst using AHV solutions, the milk produced by the cows continues to go into the bulk tank; additionally, there is no withdrawal period and no milk taint associated with any of the AHV products.

Richard added: “The fact that cell counts have been lowered across the herd as a whole means that this approach will serve to further reduce the level of antibiotic usage on the farm.”

Further information

For further information, contact AHV UK and IRE on: 0044 (0) 28-8554-9600; or: 00353 (0) 87-314-7351. To request a call back simply click here