KEENAN standing the test of time in Co. Tipperary

Joe Maher farms at Brockera outside Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, in partnership with his uncles Peter and Tom Comerford.

They are currently milking approximately 200 Pedigree British Friesian X Holstein cows in a spring -calving system.

Joe is a young farmer with big plans and, along with his uncles, is focused on farm investments and targeted improvements that will enhance the efficiency of their enterprise and deliver long-term benefits. The recent installation of a 44-unit rotary parlour is one such example.

The Comerford farm at Brockera outside Roscrea in Co. Tipperary

Still the right choice

The Comerford brothers are long-standing customers of KEENAN. On speaking with Joe, he traces the relationship his uncles have had with KEENAN over the years.

“We’ve always had a feeder,” explains Joe. “We’ve had a feeder since the early 1990s. They started out with a KEENAN 80, then a Klassik 115, which we had for a long time. They went to a 340 back about 10 years ago.”

With cow numbers having increased further in the last number of years, capacity with the machine was becoming an issue for Joe. But he knew that a KEENAN was still the right choice, as it could provide the versatility and reliability he needed.

“In 2018, we changed again and went for a 380,” Joe states. “What I like about the KEENAN is that if I want to do a mix for 20 cows I can, and the mix is the very same and as good quality as if I mixed for 200 cows.”

Along with the superior mix technique and even feed-out of the KEENAN, Joe is also confident in its ability to handle bulk forages.

“We feed bales here too,” explains Joe. “I never have had any issues with bales in the feeder. I slice them in half with the shear grab and throw them in. There are times in winter where I could put seven bales into the machine.”

Joe is a big advocate for the KEENAN MechFiber mix and has witnessed first-hand the benefits it has on herd health and performance. On asking Joe what he notes to be the difference with KEENAN, he simply says: “Well, it’s like Ronseal, you know…it does exactly what it says on the tin.”

True value

Since purchasing his MechFiber 380 and starting to work closely with his InTouch feeding specialist Cathal Cassidy in late 2017, Joe has seen the true value and extent of the benefits that can be obtained through correct nutrition delivered via the KEENAN MechFiber machine.

He has increased milk solids production by a staggering 137kg/cow over two years.

In 2017, his herd produced 5,742L/cow at 4.08% average fat and 3.45% average protein. This translates to a figure of 445kg MS/cow.

In 2018, his herd produced 6,496L/cow at 4.14% average fat and 3.5% average protein, equating to 511kg MS/cow, an increase of 66kg MS on the previous year.

Last year, 2019, the herd produced 7,097L at 4.36% average fat and 3.59% average protein, a total of 581kg MS/cow. This is an increase of 70kg on the previous year.

It is important to note that this production is being achieved on only 750kg concentrate per cow in total. Joe instead opts to buffer feed the cows throughout the year with a load of zero-grazed grass, mixed through the KEENAN with a three-way premix of pitted beet, maize silage and citrus pulp.

Joe estimates that this mix works out at approximately €190/t DM.

Currently, his dry matter intake (DMI) per cow is 22kg. This consists of 16kg grass DM, 3kg beet/maize mix, 1kg DM of zero-grazed grass and 2kg of 16% protein DM in the parlour.

Speaking on this, Joe states that the buffer diet makes up a deficit for energy in the diet and compliments high-protein grass.

Cows are typically only capable of eating 16kg DMI in a grazing system, possibly 17kg DMI in ideal conditions.

“It is the buffer at milking that is filling the deficit in energy intake in their diet and cows are milking to their full potential,” explains Joe. “We’re seeing this in milk solids production, but in the fertility too.”

The fertility of Joe’s herd is also exceptional. In 2019, he scanned just eight cows empty out of a herd of 195, with a calving interval of 371 days.

All in all, Joe and his uncles are running a smooth operation, with the KEENAN system – a vital cog in this wheel.

Further information

To learn how KEENAN can benefit your farm and to apply for the Proven Results Programme, just click here

  1. Proven Results: KEENAN helping farmers achieve on-farm results
  2. Proven Results: KEENAN delivering impressive on-farm results
  3. KEENAN delivering impressive herd health benefits