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Dairy expansion lessons from Laois to Wisconsin

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All milk is supplied to Glanbia

All milk is supplied to Glanbia

All milk is supplied to Glanbia

Well-known Co Laois dairy farmer David Hyland is jetting off to the United States to participate in a major dairy conference.

He will share his experience on herd expansion with fellow farmers at the conference organised by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW).

David farms in partnership with his brother Paul and their mother Lucy and together run a mix of Holstein and Jersey cows in their 480 strong milking herd.

His cows are currently averaging 5,700 litres, with 4.45pc butterfat and 3.7pc protein quality statistics.

Last year the Hylands received an average 31.2c/l for their milk but they do receive a winter bonus of 8c/l for milk produced in the four-month period from November.

All milk is supplied to Glanbia who have a contract to supply Diageo, the owners of the Baileys Irish Cream brand. To secure a winter supply of milk the company pays the bonus which is worth an extra €50,000 to the Hylands each year.

"It's a welcome increase to our income each year," said David. "Averaging the bonus out over the year means an overall increase of around two cents a litre to our milk price.

"The milk we produce from November through to mid-February is used for the production of the Baileys.

"The supply contract from Glanbia means there is guaranteed supply for the Baileys manufacturers through the winter months when milk production is generally dropping."

Concentrates

David says the farm's cost of production for milk runs around 14c/l for the common costs including fertiliser, concentrates and water, but is realistically around 22c/l when all farm costs are added in.

He feeds around 800kgs of concentrates per cow per year but the cows milk predominantly off grass.

One of the more unique traits of the Hyland farm is that the dry stock are all kept in cubicles outdoors.

The farm has 700 free stall cubicles in total in various locations but 400 of these are located outdoors.

The dry cows are quite content to lie on the outdoor cubicles which have mats in place and are swept clean every day.

David says he is very much looking forward to the conference. "I will be in Madison and the surrounding area for a week and am looking forward to meeting fellow farmers and perhaps visiting some local farms there.

"It will be a good experience to witness how farmers produce milk on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean," he added.

Meeting him at the conference is Rodney Elliott originally from Fermanagh but who is now farming in South Dakota milking 4,500 cows.

Rodney and his family sold their farm in Co Fermanagh in 2006 and they now run Drumgoon Dairy producing an average yield of 11,650 litres per cow per year.

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