Tipp farmers on achieving better milk solids after switch to once-a-day milking
Tipperary couple Liam and Catherine Millerick are currently milking their 121 Jersey crossbred herd once a day (OAD) and achieving better milk solids per cow compared to what they were milking on twice a day (TAD) just six years ago.
In 2013 the Millericks had 69 cows milking TAD and sold 394kgMS/cow to their co-op. After deciding to convert to the OAD alternative predominantly for the lifestyle benefits, last year they finished the season with 417kgMS/cow on average.
The first-year milking OAD went better than expected, considering 40pc of the herd that year were heifers. They admitted that the good ilk price herd held the cost of the conversion.
“We’d to be seeing a cow milk her weight in milk solids on about 250kg of meal per cow going forward,” Liam said at the Positive Farmers conference in Cork recently.
The first year of OAD was the last year male calves were kept on the farm, having opted to ‘streamline’ the farm. The farm near Fethard is now home to three groups of animals -cows, calves and in-calf heifer.
After making the decision to change their system, they started breeding crossing the herd with purebred Jersey sires after research suggested they would work best for the new system.
“The first time they saw crossbred calves the neighbours thought we were going mad, and that was before they even knew we were going OAD,” Liam said at the conference