Over 120 dairy farmers from Co. Tyrone recently attended a farm walk and barbeque on the farm of Derek Lyons, near Omagh which was hosted by Strathroy Director Cormac Cunningham and Farm Manager Cathal McAleer.
The event was organised by CAFRE in partnership with National Milk Records (NMR) and Clogher Valley Cattle Breeding Services.
The speakers on the day included John Graham, NMR, who outlined the benefits of milk recording and disease screening of the dairy herd. The farm has used the information to make important herd management decisions. The farmers attending the walk were able to discuss the key points with John in detail.
Bernard Eivers of the National Cattle Breeding Centre gave an overview of sire selection and herd breeding policy, including the use of genomic selection. The aim of the herd is to produce quality milk cost effectively using grass and by selecting cows suitable for the system real efficiency gains have been achieved.
Cathal McAleer, Farm Manager, and the local CAFRE Dairying Development Adviser Jane Sayers, led discussion with particular focus on grassland management on the farm. The 120 crossbred cows are spring calving with a focus on herd fertility. The herd aims to maximise the use of grazed grass by extending the grazing season with particular attention paid to getting cows out early in the spring by adopting flexible grazing techniques to make full use of quality grass swards.
The evening concluded with a barbeque, sponsored by NMR and Clogher Valley Cattle Breeding Services.