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Glanbia 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.

‘The Autumn calving cows are milking very well. They are on 7 kg of meal, 18% protein and 74DMD silage. Their body condition is also holding very well,’ said Shane. Shane started breeding on 6 January and currently 38 out of 43 cows have been bred to AI. The bulls will be introduced on 1 February and the breeding season will finish on the 28 February. Shane does not want to be using A.I. while the spring cows are calving. ‘All the autumn heifers are in-calf. They were synchronized after 7 days,’ said Shane.

Current performance of the Autumn cows

Milk Kg/Day 28
Fat % 4.47
Protein % 3.37
Milk Solids/Day Kg 2.2
Meal Kg/cow/day 7
Average Farm Cover kg dm/ha 900
Growth kg dm/ha 6

Spring grass

The farm is currently extremely dry after a great winter. Half a bag of urea/ac was spread on all the farm last week. ‘We have a lot of grass on the farm and it grew very well over the winter. The cows will be let out next week and the plan is to have 30% grazed by the 1 February,’ Shane explained. The second round of fertilizer will be spread in late February. Two bags of 18-6-12/ac will be spread at that stage.

Spring rotation plan

Week Ha/Day Target Ha Grazed by week end Target %
01/02 – 07/02 0.53 3.71 5.8
08/02 – 14/02 0.59 7.84 12.2
15/02 – 21/02 0.65 12.39 19.4
22/02 – 28/02 0.74 17.57 27.5
01/03 – 07/03 0.84 23.45 36.6
08/03 – 14/03 0.98 30.31 47.4
15/03 – 21/03 1.18 38.57 60.3
22/03 – 28/03 1.48 48.93 76.5
29/03 – 04/04 1.99 62.86 98.2

This spring’s maiden heifers were weighed on 23 January. They had an average weight of 290kg, ranging from 260kg to 350kg. ‘They are well on target for breeding next April.’ They were wintered on a new roofless slatted tank.


Shane’s maiden heifers on their new roofless slatted unit.

Labour for this Spring

Shane, his father Dermot as well as a full and part time labour unit will be available for a very busy spring. 120 cows out of a total of 158 to calf will be calved by the end of February. The new slatted tank has released more space for calving cows. ‘This loose shed will be a great help this spring,’ Shane explained.

Shane is also looking at other areas to reduce labour this spring;

  • Fertilizer out before calving
  • Get cows out to grass early
  • Night time feeding of cows to reduce night calving
  • No AI of Autumn cows while calving
  • Extra calving space
  • Sell bulls as soon as possible
  • Stomach tube all calves
  • Now have a freezer and fridge in the yard for storing colostrum
  • Feed calves once daily after 3 weeks
  • Good labour rota

A grass walk will take place on Shane’s farm on January 31st focusing on soil fertility and application of early nitrogen.

First Published 25 January 2017

Tagged with: Agribusiness All GII Dairy


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