‘Only we can control cost inside the farm gate’
Jamie and Loraine Kealy milk 92 cows on their 51 hectare farm in Slaney Quarter, Tullow, Co Carlow.
‘We farm 51 hectares in total, of which 14 ha is owned. The milking platform consists of the 37 ha which is all leased,’ explained Jamie. This year marks the third year that the Kealy’s have been involved in milk production. ‘We plan to milk 130 cows by 2018,’ said Jamie.
Jamie is a first generation farmer and a new entrant dairy farmer since 2014. The milking platform is on a long term lease.
‘100% of the heifers scanned in calf. The scan results are matching the AI dates. 55% are due to calve in the first 10 days, 78% of the herd within the first three weeks and 92% within six weeks. Having a compact calving period is key in ensuring that everything runs smoothly on the farm.
Fat % trends over the last 3 years
The overall fat percentage is much higher this year than the previous two years. However, protein percentage has slipped slightly behind. Last year the cows produced 480kgms/hd. This year Jamie hopes to produce 30kg of milk solids more per cow. ‘We would hope that this figure would reach 510kgms/hd.’ This year the herd is divided between first, second and third lactation.
The AHI CellCheck Milking for quality awards took place on Thursday 24 November in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny. The Awards are given to the 500 milk suppliers nationally with the lowest weighted annual average somatic cell count in the previous year. This year’s awards recognise excellence in the 2015 supply year.
Jamie’s herd was within the best 500 in the country. ‘We had a cell count of 78.’
‘Global markets are out of our control. We have to control cost inside the farm gate. It is up to the farmer to produce the highest quality product possible. This will in turn command a premium price.’
First Published 14 December 2016