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Glanbia Monitor Farm Update – Pat Dillon

This week Richard O’Brien (photo), co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, visited Pat Dillon’s farm in Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny.

Pat is currently milking 120 cows on his 38 ha milking platform. In total, he is farming 58 ha. All maiden heifers are contract reared.

Current Farm Performance

Milk Yield 20 kg/cow/day
Fat 4.45%
Protein 3.79%
Milk solids 1.64 kgMS/cow/day
Average Farm Cover 1101 kg dm/ha
Cover per cow 173 kg dm/cow
Pre grazing yield 2000 kg dm /ha
Demand 53 kg dm /ha/day
Growth 83kg dm /ha/day

‘The cows are still milking well. Protein percentage is slightly down on last year but fat percentage is well up,’ said Pat. ‘Overall milk solids produced per cow is up compapared to this time last year.’

Grass wedge 12/09/2016

The average farm cover is on target at 1,101 kgdm/ha. The pre grazing yield of 2000 is easy to graze out and Pat does not want any covers heavier than these.

Autumn Grass budget

Pat admits that the rain over the last few days was well and truly needed; ‘Growth doubled to 83 kgdm/ha/day. The plan is to have a full diet of grass until early October. Silage and meal will be fed from then on to ration the remaining grass and to keep cows milking until the end of November with grass in the diet.’

Heifer Weights

‘All maiden heifers were weighed on 9 September. They averaged 190 kg. The range was 160kg to 230kg. Heifers under 180 kg were separated from the main group and are now on 1.5 kg of meal/head/day. The heifers were also vaccinated for salmonella.’


Richard O’Brien, co-ordinator of the Glanbia monitor farm programme, advises farmers to put a liming plan in place sooner rather than later; ‘Plan lime application now for this fall. Lime could be spread on paddocks closed in October. You don’t have to spread the whole farm in one year. The target pH of soil for grassland is 6.3. 60 % of Irish soils are far below this level. Potassium (K) levels in soil are also falling, especially where a lot of silage is being removed. There are no closing dates for Lime and K.’

‘Also, get your last round of nitrogen out this week.’

First Published 16 September 2016

Tagged with: Agribusiness GII All Dairy


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