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Monitor Farm Update – Shane O Loughlin

This week Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, visited Shane O Loughlin’s farm in Oghill, Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

Shane O Loughlin from Oghill, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, plans to milk 180 commercial Holstein Friesian dairy cows on his 156 hectare farm.

“It’s great to see the improvement in the weather. Much improved since last visit in February, with very little damage done,” said Richard.

Shane is currently milking 152 cows on his 68ha milking platform and has big plans for the future. “I hope to be milking 180 cows by the end of this year, with the number to increase to 240 by 2019,’ explained Shane.

“40 cows calved last autumn,” said Shane. “At the moment 82% of the herd have calved in 6 weeks this spring compared to 66 last spring, reflecting a more compact calving period”. All bull calves are now sold off the farm.

Shane admits that the grass is only starting to grow now. “68% of the farm has been grazed. Back in February we applied 40 units of urea per ac. We also spread two bags of 18-6-12 fertiliser per acre as soil fertility is very low.”

Current performance

Milk(litres) 23.03
Fat(%) 4.43
Protein(%) 3.23
Demand 35
Meal(kg) 3
Average farm cover 571
Growth 11

 

Shane admits that cash flow will be tight this year. “We spent a lot from cash flow last year on capital items. I probably should have borrowed for this over a short period. I have my cash flow done and will monitor it.”

“I’ve just completed my grass budget for the first round. I plan to start the second rotation on 5 April. I need growth of at least 25 at least for the next two weeks. 500 kg dm/ha cover on the first paddock grazed in early February,” said Shane.

Shane is hosting a Teagasc/Glanbia (GII) monitor farm walk on Tuesday 5 April at 11am. The main focus of the walk will be on financial and infrastructure planning on expanding farms. Topics to be covered include long term planning, current cashflow management, planning good farm infrastructure and improving submission rate.

Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme offers some advice to farmers in terms of fertiliser application: “The target is to have applied 70 units of Nitrogen per acre by 1 April. Phosphorus is vital for growth.”

First Published 18th March 2016

 

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