Hurling rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary were coming together to play host to the 2020 Irish Grassland Association Dairy Summer Tour sponsored by AIB. Originally scheduled to take place in July, the date for this event has now been put on hold because of the Covid-19 crisis. Please do not book tickets until we re-confirm the event date. With the theme of optimising output on the milking platform, our hosts were dairy farmers Tom Walsh from Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny and Denis Cody from Templemore, Co. Tipperary. When restrictions are lifted, a new date will be confirmed to IGA members (Please ignore the date on this post)
Commenting at the launch of this year’s Summer Tour, Tadhg Buckley Head of Agriculture, AIB, said, ‘We are delighted to continue our support of the Irish Grassland Association Dairy Summer Tour. This year’s event will be 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 optimise output without compromising profit will be an important lesson from the day’s event”.
Denis farms near Clonmore, Templemore, Co. Tipperary on two almost equally sized milking platforms, one owned and the second leased totalling 94 hectares. Returning home from Kildalton College in 2010 with a level 6 diploma in dairying to farm with his parents, he reseeded the 48 hectare home farm over the next three years. In 2013 he leased a 21 hectare former dairy unit with a disused milking parlour approximately 7 km from home to start a second unit. Starting with 40 cows, two additional parcels of land have been leased adjoining it to create a 46 hectare second dairy farm. Each platform now milks just over 150 cows. An additional 75 hectares of land is farmed in three separate sections to supply winter forage and rear the 100 replacement heifers reared annually.
In 2019 an average of 500 kg milk solids was sold per cow (4.62% fat and 3.77% protein) to Centenary Coop. Approximately 700 kg meal per head was fed per cow that year. With an overall stocking rate of 2.5 livestock units per hectare farmed, the milking platforms are stocked at 3.2 cows/ha. Last year the farm grew approximately 15 tonnes of grass dry matter per hectare.
Tom farms 64 hectares near Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny. He came back to farm fulltime in 2003. The milking platform is 52 hectares and last year carried 126 cows at a stocking rate of 2.63 cows/hectare. The remaining 12 hectares is used for rearing of replacements and provision of winter feed. Tom is a Glanbia supplier and a monitor farmer in the 2004-2008 Teagasc Glanbia Joint Programme.
In 2019, the average milk solids sold was 611 kg per cow (4.44% fat and 3.72% protein). This was produced from 1.4t of concentrate per cow. In 2019, Tom calved 93% of the herd in 6 weeks. The herd has an EBI of €156 putting it in the top 10% of herds in the country.