How this Cork farmer focuses on increasing milk yield while reducing his workload
John Shanahan, his wife Anne and son Jack farm with a pedigree Holstein herd in Ballintotis, Midleton, Co. Cork, with 100 cows on a 60ac grazing platform. This is very much a family enterprise with Anne and Jack being hands-on with their spring and autumn-calving herd.
For two and a half years, John Shanahan has been using the high protein and high energy feed Eornagold from Specialist Nutrition for his pedigree Holstein cows.
Unlocking animal potential
When Eornagold was introduced into the diet, John saw an immediate increase in milk yield. Over time, this has solidified into an increase of 3L/head/day over the last couple of years.
The increase in milk yield is linked to the high-energy content and protein density of the feed. As Eornagold is a moist feed, it will make the overall substrate of the mix wetter, thus increasing consumption.
It is also highly palatable and, as John says himself, “the cows just love it”. These key characteristics of Eornagold increase dry matter intakes and enhance production.
Rachel McCarthy, a nutritionist with Specialist Nutrition, observed: “Milk recording on John’s farm very clearly shows how the improved yield and milk solids are bolstering the overall success of the farm.
“Milk solids have gone from 548kg in 2016 to 588kg in 2018. Milk volume has improved from 7,605L in 2016 to 8,679L in 2018. This very clearly shows the obvious benefits of Eornagold in buffer feeding.”
Unlocking farm potential
In previous years, John fed a mix of maize silage, fodder beet and grass silage along with a high protein blend to balance the diet.
For John and the family, there was a lot of work involved in handling and feeding the beet. John wanted to reduce wear and tear on machinery and reduce the time spent in preparing and feeding out the buffer feed.
Improvement in fertility
Prior to feeding Eornagold, John had an empty rate of 20% in the herd. What he noticed since using Eornagold is the empty rate has now dropped to 14%.
John maintains that the extra protein and energy that Eornagold provides post-calving is vital to the cow. It plays a major part in meeting the increasing energy demands of the cow, following the onset of lactation and ensures she will be back in calf quickly.
What’s in the diet?
At the moment, John is buffer feeding 5kg of Eornagold, 15kg of grass silage and 0.33kg of straw. John also feeds 2-4kg of 18% nut in the parlour, depending on the stage of lactation.
This diet is being used to buffer feed at autumn grass. Rachel added: “I would describe this as a straight-forward diet but you can see how effective it is in the results achieved on the farm since its introduction.”
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Specialist Nutrition has an experienced nutritional team who are available to advise you on your diet specification and the storage of moist and liquid feeds.
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