How this dairy farmer is operating a 220-cow herd as a one-man-show
Operating a 220 Holstein cow farm is a workable number for a one-man system, without heavy reliance on outside labour says west Cork farmer Norman Tuthill.
Stocking his milking platform at 3.5LU/ha, with the option of expanding the herd with outside blocks of land, the Bandon native says he’s content without growing the herd more and becoming more dependent on outside labour.
“The aim is to keep the herd at 220 cows. It’s a manageable figure for one person. We have Danny O’Regan working with us for three days during the week, he works elsewhere for the other two and every second weekend he’s here with us.
Norman also takes advantage of a local worker for relief milking on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. However, he maintains he can still operate the farm by himself if needs be.
“It seems to run smooth when everyone’s working but when the snow falls and no one can get here, I’m able to run the farm myself and still finish at a reasonable hour.”
“I’m not in a position where I can’t go two weeks without help, so I’m slow to increase the herd size again; I think that the next step is a big step where I’d have to get enough labour to cover if your first hand is away for two weeks or can’t work."
Norman Tuthill, farms with his wife Colette and three daughters, Olivia (16), Nicola (15) and Aoife (12) in Baurleigh, located half-way between Bandon town and Kilbrittain.
His 122ha farm consists of 63ha on the home farm, 28ha split into three blocks all within 7km of the home farm used for silage and tillage, and a further 31ha kept for tillage and stocking heifers 8km away.