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Glanbia Monitor Farm Update – Eamonn and Darren Healy

This week Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, visited Eamonn and Darren Healy’s farm in Redcross Co. Wicklow.

Current Farm Performance

Milk Kg/Day 21.78
Fat % 3.80
Protein % 3.40
Milk Solids/Day Kg 1.57
Meal Kg/cow/day 0
Average Farm Cover kgdm/ha 583
Cover per Cow 191
Pre Grazing Yield kgdm/ha 1500
Demand kgdm/ha 55
Growth kgdm/ha 64


Grass Wedge

 ‘The grass has grown well since early May. The farm has produced 6.5 tonnes per hectare so far this year. 10.5 ha will be taken out in the next week as surplus bales. We also plan to cut the second cut silage next week,’ explained Darren.

All the land is in one block and the heifers are being contract reared. ‘Our heifers are contract reared. It means that we can keep more cows on our milking platform and spend more time on trying to maximise output from our herd,’ said Darren.

The Healy’s aim to finish breeding by 20 July. They are also starting to build a new 24 unit milking parlour and 200 cubicles next week.

Protein % trend for the last 3 years

 Darren admits that the cows have held in yield well; ‘They have only dropped 5% over the last two months. Protein percentage is ahead on last year. The EBI of the herd is improving and grassland management, especially in mid-season, has improved,’ said Darren


SCC trend for the last 3 years

 As seen on the graph, Somatic cell count (SCC) has improved a lot over the last 3 years. It is staying under 100 this year. Darren identified a few practices that helped to improve this:

  • Better hygiene in the pit and wearing gloves
  • Milk recording and identifying high SCC cows
  • Milking high SCC cows at the end of milking (identified with a band on their leg)
  • Sensitivity analysis at drying off to help dry cow tube selection
  • Culling high SCC cows

Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, believes that taking time to carefully plan your approach will pay in the long run; ‘Calculate you silage stock, if you feel that it’s not sufficient, spread extra nitrogen as soon as possible,’ said Richard.

‘Milk 13 times per week. Take Sunday evening off. There will be no major effect on milk yield from now on,’ explained Richard.

First Published 17th July 2016

Tagged with: Agribusiness All Dairy GII


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