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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.

Eamonn and Darren Healy milk 248 Holstein Friesian cows on their 100 hectare farm in Redcross, Co. Wicklow. Darren and his father Eamonn are part of a milk production partnership.

Current Performance

Milk Kg/Day 27.9
Fat % 3.79
Protein % 3.41
Milk Solids/Day Kg 2
Meal Kg/cow/day 2kg
Average Farm Cover 766
Cover per Cow 210
Pre Grazing Yield KG DM 1500
Demand KG DM HA 55
Growth KG DM HA 53


‘In the next couple of years, we plan to milk 290 cows. Our milking platform is currently stocked at 4 livestock units per hectare,’ explained Darren.

‘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 grass has eventually started to grow on the farm. As a result the cows are milking a lot better now. We have the meal down to 2kg per day and silage out of the diet,’ explained Darren.

In the season to date, the Healys have fed 240kg/cow of meal. Reducing the meal from 3 to 2kg on this farm will save €450 per week. This 2kg will act as a carrier for minerals. The grass is of high dry matter and quality and will support a milk yield of 27 litres.

The Healys have 95 acres closed for first cut silage with a further 10 acres ready to reseed. ‘We plan to use master crop premium graze. We’ve spread 80 units of nitrogen per acre on the grazing ground so far. We hope to get 40 units of urea out this week,’ said Darren.

Darren admits that there is lots to be done before breeding season begins; ‘The breeding of cows and heifers will start on 27 April. Problem cows will be scanned and treated this week. We have a team of eight bulls for cows and two proven bulls for the heifers. We will use EUW and PSQ on the heifers as they are proven easy calvers.’

Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, believes that farmers need to put proper structures in place to ensure a successful breeding season; ‘The weather is coming good for the start of the breeding season. The next 12 weeks are the most important 12 weeks of the year. Concentrate on getting cows in-calf. Use tail paint to help heat observations.’

‘You need to be aiming to get 30 % of your herd bred in the first week of AI. Calculate this figure for your herd and set it as a target. Research shows 70% of heats occur at 7am in the morning and 9pm in the evening. A missed heat can prolong the calving interval and increase costs across the board.’

First Published 29th April 2016

Tagged with: Agribusiness All Dairy GII


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