Dairy Summer Tour

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Dairy Summer Tour

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Focus on high profit and high return dairying

The Irish Grasslands Dairy Summer Tour focuses on high profit and high return on investment milk production when it visits two grass based dairy farms at Shinagh Dairy Farm and Rearour, Aherla.  The event, sponsored by AIB Bank, takes place on Tuesday July 24th.  The major focus of this year’s event is achieving a high whole farm profit and converting a leased farm to milk production to achieve a high return on investment.  Maximising the use of grazed grass in the cows’ diet will feature prominently on both farms.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Michael Bateman chairman of the Tour said, ‘Since milk quota removal, commercially focused dairy farms have the opportunity to specialise in dairying and maximise the profitability and returns on their dairy farm.  This focus continues the theme of January’s Dairy Conference where the twin topics of achieving a net profit of €2,500 per hectare farmed and/or a return of 15% or more on assets invested through the leasing route were highlighted.  With this in mind, the Irish Grasslands Association invited two milk producers one farming on a mostly owned farm and achieving a high profit per hectare farmed and the second managing a converted fully leased unit yielding a high return on the conversion investment made to host this year’s Dairy Summer Tour’.

Kevin AhernKevin Ahern, farm manager at Shinagh Dairy Farm, Bandon, Co. Cork was invited to host the tour with a focus on achieving a high return on investment on this leased farm.  Kevin manages this 78 hectare leased farm since it was established in 2011 by the four West Cork Co-ops. All of the land leased comprises the milking platform with the 232 strong dairy herd stocked at 3.0 cows/ha.  The farm grew an average of 17.1 tonnes dry matter per hectare in 2017.  Over its conversion, there has been 2.1 km of roadways laid, a 20 unit milking parlour constructed, reseeded 50 ha of the milking platform and converted a slatted shed to a 200 cubicle shed with sufficient slurry storage to accommodate the rapidly expanding herd.  Most of the land has been reseeded in the past five years.  Improving soil pH and P&K indices is on-going.  The herd produced 397 kg milk solids per cow (4.54% fat; 3.79% protein) on 320 kg meal last year with 1,200kg of milk solids produced per hectare.

Conor KelleherConor and Josie Kelleher farm at Rearour, Aherla, Co. Cork.   They farm 57 ha, practically all of which is owned.  With an average of 142 cows grazing the farm in 2017, the milking platform stocking rate was 3.4 cows/ha.  The farm grew over 16 tonnes of grass dry matter per hectare in 2017.  Conor’s herd produced 527 kg milk solids per cow (4.50% fat; 3.75% protein) on 830 kg meal that year.

Common features of both farms are the following:

  • Breeding the right cow – both farmers believe that highly fertile, high EBI cows are most suited to grass-based milk production;
  • Their focus on soil improvement through improving soil fertility;
  • Their financial focus – both carefully plan cash flow on a monthly and multi-annual basis.

Commenting at the launch of this year’s Summer Tour, Donal Whelton, AIB Agri Advisor, said, ‘We are delighted to continue our support of the Irish Grassland Association Dairy Summer Tour.  This year’s event is a further opportunity for farmers to learn first-hand from two progressive financially driven dairy farmers.  The fundamentals of grass utilisation and maintaining efficiencies are key for all farmers, particularly in a period of volatile milk prices.  Learning how both farmers managed to successfully achieve such high returns in different circumstances will be an important lesson from the day’s event”.

For further information about the event contact Maura Callery at (087) 962 6483 or visit the Irish Grasslands Association website at www.irishgrassland.com


Dairy Summer Tour

Click here to download leaflet


We would like to thank our sponsors

AIB logo


Posted on Thursday, 26 April 2018  |  By Irish Grassland Association
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