From baler twine across the road to a €65,000 underpass for this 300-cow herd
Joe and Denis Lucey run a 300-cow herd in Ovens, Co. Cork. Joe has just recently installed an underpass on his farm and says this will allow an extra two hours a day for his cows at grass.
Two thirds of Joe’s milking block is directly across the road from the milking parlour and up until now, his cows crossed the road twice daily, with just two strands of baler twine keeping them in line.
While the Lucey’s cows were out to grass on February 21, Storm Emma saw the dairy herd return indoors where they have remained since.
The furthest paddock across the road is a 1.8km walk for the cows. Joe says he zero-grazes this paddock whenever possible rather getting the cows to walk that distance. “It doesn’t pay me to walk them that far, they’re burning too much milk”.
With two thirds of the farm the other side of the road, Joe and his father had to move the 300-cow herd at least eight times a week for milking.
“Safety is the main reason I got the underpass” says Joe. “Cows could be standing outside the shed, waiting to be let out to grass across the road for an hour and three quarters by the time I was finished milking.
“Otherwise, they were let out in two groups which just took too much time for me when I needed to be in the pit.
“Last year, cows escaped out onto the road. Young heifers went across into the field but walked back out when we were still milking,” said Denis, Joe’s father. “Only for the milk lorry meeting them on the road they would have travelled down to the main road and who knows what kind of damage they would have done.”