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Main learning points from Seamus Brennan’s Farm Walk – Farm Facilities

Farmyards have become very busy places during the spring and a farm walk on Seamus Brennan’s farm in Attanagh, Co. Laois highlighted how a farmer can make the yard more efficient for ease of labour for himself and for those working with him.
The main topics discussed were cow flow through the parlour, general cow and calf flow through the yard and labour efficiency at peak times of the year.

Seamus is farming for over 30 years and in that time, he has developed the yard as shown in the pictures below

Fig 1: Brennan Farm 1984

Fig 2: Brennan Farm 2016

 

Farm Details - Physical

Area Farmed (Adj.Ha.) 70
Milking Platform (Ha) 31.8
Dairy Cows 103
Replacement Heifers 0-1 35
Replacement Heifers 1-2 35
Replacement Heifers 2+ -
Cattle 0-1 67
Cattle 1-2 14
Cattle 2+ -
Stocking rate (LU / Ha 25

 

Farm Details – Milk Production

    6% Not in calf
    103 Cows
    2016 Today
Milk Yield / cow 6367 19.12
Milk protein % 3.59 3.83
Milk Fat % 4.16 4.23
Milk solids / cow 509 1.59
S.C.C 115 77

 

Farm flow on the Brennan Farm

The backing gate and drafting are very important in this yard as they help to quicken up milking. The collecting yard is rectangular and has enough space for all cows and there is one entry point onto the collecting yard.

Fig 3: Drafting gate

Fig 4: Backing gate: entry point from the grazing platform at the start of the slats at the back of the collecting yard.

Fig 5: Farm Yard Map

The farm yard is quite compact and it is set up for easy flow of animals, cubicle sheds are at both sides of the calving area and the calf reading shed is opposite the calving area.

Fig 6: Calving shed

The calving shed is adequate for 100 cows calving. When cows are being drafted every two days, you need space for 12-15% of the cows. A shed of this size would cost approximately €20,000. The other advantage of this shed is the slatted feeding area in the front.

First Published 28 September 2017

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