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Donal O’Reilly, Monitor farmer - Facilities and Labour

Donal O’Reilly intends to milk 190 to 200 cows with one full time labour unit, contracting all replacements by 2018.

Rapid Expansion

Donal has expanded his numbers considerably from milking 120 in 2014 to calving 155 cows this year. He took on a contract rearer this spring which left ground open for productive stock and he was therefore in a position to purchase 23 heifers. They are currently milking 174 cows.

Donals plan is to have enough heifers coming through to be milking circa 200 cows by 2018. Fertility on the farm has been good for the last few years and they are looking at carrying 40 heifer replacement units.

Contract rearing and infrastructure

Contract rearing has made life easier for Donal, taking away a group of animals, meaning Donal can concentrate on one group of animals. The contract rearer took the maiden heifers this year and will take the calves next year.

The milking platform is currently 50 hectares and they want to bring in a further six hectares of what was traditionally heifer and/or silage ground. There is some work to be done draining and reseeding of this ground. The overall farm is 74 hectares.


In 2009, the parlour had 14 units when they were milking 70 cows, six units were added in 2012 and they may put an additional five units on this year.


Donal has drafting facilities to help with cow flow. Prior to this year he was on his own and it was crucial to avoid leaving the pit. For this he needed to maximize facilities and utilise the most efficient use of labour before taking on part time labour.


At five acres, the paddocks are now too small for 200 cows so Donal intends to start opening gaps to bring them to nine acres. There is a good roadway structure through the farm. Water flow however is an issue and although they have adequate size water troughs, they will run a new water pipe system through the farm in the near future.

Donal intends to milk 190 to 200 cows with one full time labour unit, contracting all replacements by the end of 2018.

Updated performance for week ending August 4th 2017

Milk KG/Day20.2
Fat %4.29
Protein %3.63
Milk Solids/Day1.6
Meal kg/cow/day2
Average Farm Cover683
Cover per Cow175
Pre Grazing Yield KG DM1500
Demand KG DM HA62
Growth KG DM HA85


First Published 14 August 2017

Tagged with: Dairy


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