How simple measures help this farmer cope with calving nearly 200 cows in one month
Labour efficient measures do not necessarily cost a lot and can be very simple, according to one expanding dairy farmer.
Phil Purcell, from Ballykeeffe, Kilmanagh, Co Kilkenny urged farmers at the Teagasc National Dairy Conference to ensure that they look after those that are working on the farm and themselves as the busy spring calving period approaches.
Addressing the topic of getting ready for spring, Mr Purcell, who runs the farm with his wife Miriam, said “no matter how prepared you are February can be intense” but he always thinks about the light at the end of the tunnel.
In 2018, the Purcell farm will calve 228 cows, with around 170 of the cows due to calve in February.
The farm at Kilmanagh is made up of 112ha of land, with 62 designated for the milking platform and around 20ha of the farm is leased. This year they keep an average of 200 dairy cows on the farm, with 192 the peak number milked.
He estimates they will sell 1.05m litres of milk at 4.26pc fat and 3.66pc protein this year, which works out at 428kg milk solids sold per cow. They are also on track to grow 13t of grass dry matter per hectare with the cows fed 700kg meal per head.
It is a British Friesian herd, with Holsteins used in recent years and an average EBI of €96.
Mr Purcell said there are a number of areas that help make the calving season more manageable including defined roles and facilities.