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.
Eamonn and Darren Healy milk 246 cows on their 111 hectare farm in Redcross Co. Wicklow. Darren (middle in photo) and his father Eamonn are part of a milk production partnership. All the land is in one block and the heifers are contract reared.
Current Farm Performance 17/10/2016
|Milk Solids/Day Kg||1.37|
|Average Farm Cover kgdm/ha||903|
|Cover per Cow||358|
|Pre Grazing Yield kgdm/ha||2400|
Autumn rotation planner
The plan is to graze 70% of the farm by 1 November. This is a very important target because it sets the farm up for next spring. The 70% that is closed, will be the grass available to cows from early February to mid-March next spring. Darren plans to close about 40% of the farm by the end of this week. ‘The farm is well on target. The cows have milked well grazing out heavy covers,’ said Darren. ‘The dry weather has helped this. The cows are on 12 hour allocations. When the weather is wet they get an extra kg of meal.’
A lot of the heavy covers should be grazed by next week. Silage will be introduced at that stage to keep cows out until mid-November. The farm gets wet very quickly and it is hard to graze beyond this date. The closing cover of 700 kgdm/ha is critical and once the farm reaches this the cows will be housed full time.
‘The breeding has gone okay with 13% infertile after 12 weeks breeding. The heifers scanned very well with only 2% infertile. We expect a few more to slip before calving,’ said Darren. ‘The plan is to milk 280 cows next year. The scanning results suggest that 89% of cows and heifers will calve in February and March next year.’
New 24 unit parlour and 200 topless cubicles
‘We started to build last July. We are building a 24 unit parlour with stalls for 36 and 200 topless cubicles. The site was very difficult to pick because of the falls. The parlour and cubicles are at the same level. The dairy and plant room at another level to allow access by the milk lorry. The parlour is basic enough with ACR, dump line, backing gate and drafting system,’ Darren explained. ‘The housing is set up to feed 300 cows at one time. We felt this was important at higher stocking rates for buffer feeding.
‘We are currently looking for a new labour unit. We will have one in place by next spring,’ said Darren.
First Published 27 October 2016