'The new parlour will cut milking to two hours a day'
A new milking parlour is the next priority for Oisín Gill as he continues his redevelopment of the home dairy farm in Hollymount near Claremorris, Co Mayo.
The 33-year-old expects the new 26-unit parlour, which he says will cut milking times dramatically on the farm, to be in place by the end of the year once planning permission and his grant application are passed by the authorities.
"At the moment we are milking around six hours a day in the old parlour but when the new one is in place, milking will be down to an hour in the morning and a hour in the evening," he predicts.
At the same time, he is busy transforming his 150-strong home dairy herd from Holstein to Jersey crosses on the 130-acre farming enterprise.
It's what he describes as a "work in progress" and he expects to complete the changeover in about two years.
At the moment he still has 50 Holsteins but Jerseys are gradually changing the profile of the herd.
His thinking is simple: "The Holsteins are good for milk but the Jerseys are higher in the more valuable proteins and fats. We'll keep going and see what happens. I'll keep the remaining Holsteins until their breeding careers are finished."
The difference is volume terms works out in favour of the "long-legged Holsteins" who are averaging 28 litres, as against 23 litres, but it's the Jersey milk quality which is making the difference.