Don Lynch is a dairy farmer from Whitecross, Co. Cork, who is currently milking 200 Friesian cows, with an average yield of 8500L/cow, on a 200ac fragmented farm.
As Don operates a fragmented farm, his milking platform stocking rate is 4.1 cows/ha. Due to this high stocking rate, buffer feeding takes place intermittently throughout the grazing season.
Due to high yields and high stocking rates during winter milking, Don’s cows are more susceptible to mastitis and disease, resulting in a higher somatic cell count (SCC).
No more milk dumped
Following an outbreak of mastitis in the herd, Don became concerned about treating his herd with antibiotics due to lengthy withdrawal periods which resulted in good milk being disposed after the cows were cured.
Ridomast is a homeopathic treatment programme used for the treatment and prevention of mastitis in dairy cows.
The major benefit of Ridomast is that there are no meat and milk withdrawal periods, therefore saving farmers money. It is also easy and safe to use as it is mixed in with the cattle’s drinking water.
Speaking about his experience treating his herd with Ridomast, Don said: “We used Ridomast solely to treat this bad mastitis outbreak.
“It worked wonders – we cured every case of mastitis and we didn’t have to cull any cows.
“The real lifesaver was that we didn’t have to worry about antibiotics, and didn’t have to worry about dumping milk.”
Reduced stress and improved welfare
A mastitis outbreak in the herd causes immense stress for both the cow and the farmer – as the farmer attempts to prevent the spread of the disease, and prevent spoiled milk entering the bulk tank, the infection causes the cow pain also.
Discussing his experience using Ridomast during the farm’s busy period, Don said: “At a time when we were busy calving cows, milking cows, rearing calves, antibiotics entering the bulk tank was one thing that we didn’t have to worry about so it helped us to get through a stressful time – and that really cemented our belief in the product.
“From that occurrence on, we knew that we’d never look back and use anything other than the Ridomast programme.”
After using Ridomast to treat mastitis, Don noticed a considerable increase in his herd’s health, noting that all cows recovered from the disease following the outbreak.
Confirming this, Don said: “It was a wonder that we managed to get through that outbreak without culling cows.”
Less labour, less costs
Keeping costs at a minimum is required for any successful business. For dairy farmers, maintaining a low SCC while keeping costs to a minimum is essential.
Talking about how he has achieved this, Don said: “SCC is never a concern anymore. It’s so easy to use and we’ve cut way back on our antibiotic usage. We’ve dumped next to no milk this year because we’ve been using Ridomast.
“Financially, we’ve really scored due to the fact we’ve really cut back on our antibiotic usage – the cost of tubes, injections, milk withdrawals, dumping milk.
“Especially, with a year like this – with milk hitting pay-out prices of 60c/L, having little to no mastitis cases as we’re treating them homepathically – that’s a big save.”
Don also noted that he has experienced an alleviation of workload since starting GH Agri’s Ridomast programme.
He said: “Of course there’s labour savings too, when you’re trying to milk a herd of cows, you don’t want to be tubing them, injection them or isolating them.
“By using GH Agri’s homeopathic treatment, it’s so simple and it saves time in the parlour, during milking, from isolating cows, and you don’t have to warn anyone about milking cows with antibiotic withdrawal periods.”
Following the success of the product’s use on Don’s herd, he has decided to remain on this programme for the foreseeable.
“We’re staying on this programme for the foreseeable. There’s no way we’d change,” he said.
“It’s probably only a matter of time before there will be much more stringent protocol on the use of antibiotics for animals who’s produce is entering the food chain.
“Also, it provides a real peace of mind knowing that its working away in the background all of the time, not just when you have an outbreak.”
Furthermore, Don mentioned that it was not just the performance of the product that was impressive, but also the support provided from Kevin Mc Hugh at GH Agri which made investing in this product worthwhile.
Don said: “The constant back up and support from Kevin at GH Agri was fantastic.
“I’d say there were times that we were on to Kevin three times a day, every day, for a week or two until we got on top of the outbreak.”
GH Agri was established in 1989, and is an agricultural veterinary healthcare company providing safe and effective immunization programmes for the prevention and treatment of a range of on-farm diseases.
The expansion of GH Agri’s business throughout the years has been aided by the Local Enterprise Office, and Enterprise Ireland.
Breda Fox, Valerie Kelly, Anne Marie Costello and Eoin Connaire, along with others at the Local Enterprise Office, have aided GH Agri during their business’ expansion.
This expansion includes the recent development of a new bolus range which will be entering the agricultural market later this year. GH Agri is also preparing for further product development through the Agile Project Application with Enterprise Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland has also been a great resource for GH Agri during its expansion into the UAE and Middle East market. Danny Cunnigham, in particular, has been excellent at connecting the company with the right people on the ground both at farm level/distribution level, the company said.
GH Agri will be attending the National Ploughing Championships 2022 and will be located at the Local Enterprise Pavillion. GH Agri said it is looking forward to meeting new and existing customers.
For further information on GH Agri and their products, click here.
To view GH Agri’s online product brochure, click here.