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Glanbia Monitor Farm Update – James and Lorraine Kealy

This week Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, visited James and Lorraine Kealy’s farm in Slaney Quarter, Tullow, Co Carlow.

This year marks the third year that the Kealy's have been involved in milk production. ‘We plan to milk 90 cows this year. At this point, 87% of the cows have calved,’ said James.

‘58% of the farm is grazed, which is a little ahead of target. We are feeding silage to slow up the rotation,’ James explained. ‘The silage is fed in the field along the wire. It helps us to keep the cows out of the shed.’

James admits that it is paramount that they try to lengthen the first rotation: ‘We need to extend the first rotation to 5 April. Most of the farm is high in P,K and Lime. Forty per cent of farm was reseeded in the last two years and these paddocks are showing good regrowth,’ said James.

Current Performance:

Milk 24.5 litres
Fat 4.98%
Protein 3.28%
Milk Solids 2.07%
Meal 4kg
Average FC 442 kg dm/ha
Growth 7 kg dm/ha


‘Where little or no area has been grazed (< 10%) with no N spread, the spring rotation plan needs to be revised to reflect a later end to the first rotation. Plan to have first rotation complete by 15 April. Beyond this point it is likely that growth rates will take off. The average growth rate on dairy farms during March is 25kgDM/Ha and this increases to 45kgDM/Ha in the first half of April.’


‘The target is to have applied 70 units of Nitrogen per acre by 1 April. Phosphorus is vital for early spring grass growth as it aids the recovery of the grass plant after grazing and promotes regrowth. Two bags of 18:6:12 per acre should be applied during March to provide maintenance P requirements.’

Body Condition Score (BCS)

‘Assess and record BCS on an individual cow basis. This will allow time for corrective action before the breeding season.’

First Published 10th March 2016


Tagged with: GII Agribusiness All Dairy


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