Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

'I was surprised by the simple things that yielded big savings'

Pilot: Farmer Andrew McHugh
Pilot: Farmer Andrew McHugh

Martin Ryan

One of the pilot farmers in the scheme, Longford dairy farmer Andrew McHugh, described the experience as an eye opener about the impact simple everyday things can have on the bottom line.

"It made me focus on simple things around the farm that I probably was not thinking about," explained Andrew who runs a 170-cow herd beside Longford town.

"The water troughs around the fields was one issue that made a big difference to increasing my milk yield.

"When I saw troughs that were nearly empty, I did not see it as making a difference and believed that the animals would just move on to another trough. But it added about 10pc to my milk yield by adding more drinking troughs in the paddocks," he said.

"I was genuinely surprised at the other simple changes that were capable of making a big difference in savings," he admitted.

"The plate cooler was another thing that was more important than I realised. I spent a couple of hundred euro adding a few extra plates and saved over €200 on electricity - that was my money back in less than 12 months.

"I was using the cooler that was supplied with the machine. I thought it should be adequate until I saw the difference that the additional plates made in my electricity costs.

"I know that other people found a big benefit in having their parlour feeders calibrated. They found that the feeders were dispensing varying amounts - as much double what they were supposed to, while others weren't giving out enough. So there were big savings by having them all re-calibrated," he said.

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"It was absolutely well worth taking part in and the discussion group were all part of it. When they went through each area other benefits were identified.

"I'm definietely going to go back through the analysis report to work on other areas. I feel that a lot of farmers don't realise the savings that can be made by very simple changes around the farm," he concluded.

The motto of farmers in the scheme is that a cent saved is a cent made, echoing their forefathers who always preached minding the pennies so pounds would look after themselves. Some things never change.

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