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Glanbia Monitor Farm Update: Brendan Phelan

Brendan Phelan from Ballykillaboy, Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny, plans to milk 140 cows this year on his 82 hectare farm.

’The milking platform is comprised of 56 hectares. All heifers are contract reared,’ Brendan explained. ‘The plan in 3 years is to milk 170 cows. Most of the machinery work is contracted out. It really eases the need for additional labour.’

Current Performance

Milk(kg/day) 21.8
Fat (%) 4.73
Protein (%) 3.41
Milk Solids (Per day) 1.78
Meal (kg/cow/day) 5
Average Farm Cover 343
Pre Grazing yield (kg/dm) 1100
Growth (kg/dm/ha) 6


Brendan admits that growth on the farm is very slow at the moment. ‘Growth was at 6kg dm/ha last week. The average for this time of year is 25kg dm/ha,’ said Brendan. ‘Currently 70% of the farm is grazed but only 300kg dm/ha was grazed on the first paddock. We expect the second rotation to start on 1 April. Silage will be fed with 5kg of meal until growth improves,’ said Brendan.

‘In 6 weeks, 75% of the cows have calved. We are very pleased with this and will make further efforts to have a more compact calving period.’

The team of 6 bulls for 2016 have been selected with an average EBI of 367, fertility sub index of 200 and PTA for fat and protein of 36.’

Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme offers some advice to farmers in terms of paddock rotation: ‘Farmers need to try and stretch the 1st rotation to 15 April. Current growth rates across the monitor farms is at 10 kg dm/ha. This may require supplementing the diet with a third concentrate, a third silage and the remainder with grass. Also If you haven’t fertiliser out and get it out as soon as possible.’

First Published 29th March 2016

Tagged with: Agribusiness All Dairy GII


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