In Ballynennan, close to Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary, two neighbouring dairy farms are driving their herds forward through the innovative choice of genetics and farm management.
They are selling 49% more milk solids per cow, when compared to the average cow in their co-op. In an age where efficiency and productivity are key, they are making more profit from less cows.
These farmers are opening their doors on Wednesday, July 31, to showcase their systems in what promises to be a very informative open day.
Padraig Moroney’s herd is producing an impressive 558kg milk solids with a calving interval of 372 days.
“We run a simple, low labour system,” said Padraig. “Myself, my family and one full-time labourer manage these 190 cows. I also hire part-time labour at calving time.”
The herd is fed a diet of silage and meal in winter, while in summer they graze grass and are supplemented with meal in the parlour. All cows are dried off before Christmas, with calving beginning in mid-January.
Padraig then runs a 12-week breeding season, and aims to get all heifers calved in at two years-of-age.
The farm has historically used American genetics and, in 2015, the decision was made to use the Worldwide Mating Service (WMS). Padraig increased his usage of WWS genetics, as he was experiencing the improvement that these cows were delivering to his herd, in terms of fertility and milk solids per cow.
He also appreciated the physical improvements he was seeing.
“My cows have to walk up to 2km to get to grass, so I need cows with good feet and legs. WWS genetics has given me the functional type I need to have longer lasting cows,” said Padraig.
Philip and Michael Britton milk 240 cows in a spring block-calving system. Last year, their herd produced 579kg/MS/cow, on a 365-day calving interval.
Aiming to breed a robust cow with high kilograms of milk solids and fertility, the Brittons started using WWS genetics in 2015. In the milking herd, they now have first and second lactation cows bred by WWS genetics. They are continuing to be impressed by their performance.
We switched to WWS genetics because we had become disillusioned with the cows we had been breeding. We lacked milk and functional type as the cows we were milking became too small. If we’re working with cows seven days-a-week, they need to be a cow we like.
Due to a fragmented land base, the Brittons have historically grown crops such as winter barley and maize on the ground that they are unable to graze. This provides the basis of the TMR diet fed in the spring. The only purchased feedstuffs are dairy nuts, and a small amount of soya.
Philip stated: “We have no desire to milk more cows to achieve the same level of output as what we have at the minute. Our view is that if you feed the cow in the morning, she pays you back in the evening.”
As well as learning about the genetics and management used on these farms, there will be number of speakers present on the day.
Brian Reidy, of Premier Farm Nutrition, will be in attendance on July 31, speaking about the nutritional management used by the Brittons, as well as presenting on heifer rearing.
Dr. John Cook, international technical service veterinarian with WWS, will give a presentation on herd health. Andrea Rafferty, WMS analyser, will demonstrate how WMS works as a breeding tool.
WWS Ireland provides quality dairy and beef genetics to Irish farmers at a competitive price. Its passionate and knowledgeable team will strive to deliver reliable and personal service. The company’s aim is to deliver its best to your business.
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