'Every extra tonne of grass grown increases profits by €173 per hectare'
Three whiteboard farm maps hang on the wall of the Heffernan dairy in Dunnamaggin, Co Kilkenny.
The maps show the soil fertility status, weekly grass measurements and slurry applications on each paddock, and are updated as appropriate.
This provides a vast amount of information about the grass on the farm at a glance, and the strategy was central to their winning the Leinster Grassland Farmer of the Year award in 2017.
Mark Heffernan farms in partnership with his brother Liam and his parents Billy and Mary.
Five years ago, Mark (pictured) said they got an "awful shock". They had just received the results of soil tests which showed that their farm's P and K levels had "hit the floor".
At the time, they were soil testing every five years. Now, they test all soils at least every two years.
Up to 2008, the home farm comprised 95ha and had a mix of enterprises - 40 dairy cows, 300-400 breeding ewes, cattle and tillage.
With both Liam and Mark interested in farming, the family decided to jump fully into dairying. Their objective is to grow lots of grass and convert that grass into milk solids.