Shrewd investments key to a dairy success story
The dairy operation of Jim and Pauline Delahunty, at Ballykinash, Carrig, Co Tipperary, is one of the finest you'll visit.
Located near the county bounds with Offaly, just outside the town of Birr, it attracted a good crowd for a Teagasc open day last Wednesday.
National EBI winner in 2006, Jim has built the business on the back of a targeted breeding policy, excellent grass management and knowing his costs and margins.
The Delahuntys farm 58.7ha (145ac), which includes 29.9ha (75ac) of a milking platform, and a 28.7ha out-farm, which is used for replacement stock and silage.
On these lands Jim carries 110 spring calving cows supplying a 592,000 litre quota, as well as 46 replacement heifers and 50 calves. This gives a stocking rate of 3.7LU/ha (1.5LU/ac) on the milking platform, 2.7LU/ha on the farm as a whole.
The farm's vital figures are impressive. The average yield per cow last year was 5,359 litres at 4.41pc fat and 3.56pc protein.
Last year, his common production costs (his costs before allowing for labour interest and lease charges) came to 14.7c/l, which gave a margin of 18.3c/l on an average milk price 33.3c/l. This equates to a margin of €980/cow or €2,650/ha and places him firmly in the top 10pc of all dairy farmers nationally.