€30 STEAK BBQ OFFER: available for both members and non members!
Book a ticket to to the Dairy Day 2 + purchase tickets to (the Steak BBQ and Farm Walk on) Day 1 for only €30 extra. This €30 day 1 deal is available for both members and non members!
The first day of our Dairy Extravaganza is kindly sponsored by Yara and will incorporate a farm visit to the farm of Mark Cassidy in Kells eircode A82YP57 at 4pm, followed by a social Steak BBQ Night with music in the Headfort Arms Hotel Kells Co Meath. Commenting on the first day, Philip Cosgrave, Yara said “We are delighted to be associated with this event organised by the Irish Grassland Association. We are looking forward to an excellent farm visit to Mark Cassidy and a very enjoyable social gathering with members that evening.”
Mark Cassidy is farming in Kells, Co. Meath. The Cassidy farm has calved 390 cows in 2023. The farm is a spring calving crossbred herd which produced 509Kgs of milk solids per cow in 2022. The farm is 153Ha, with a milking platform of 115Ha. The EBI of the herd is €207 and has a 6-week calving rate of 83%. Heifer calves are contract reared and have been done so by the same farmer for the past 6 years.
Mark returned home to full time farming in the mid 1990’s. At that stage the farm was milking 40 cows and supplying a liquid milk contract. The farm has grown considerably in recent years, and it has done so maximising the use of grazed grass in the diet. Mark started measuring grass in the mid 2000’s, and the farm while affected by drought last year, grew 12.8t DM/ha.
The farm can be best described as a labour efficient farm. Good structure, defined roles and a recognition of the importance of work-life-balance are key to the farm. It was Mark’s time abroad, before he returned to full time farming in Ireland that shaped his farming philosophy and how he would set up his farm for the future. Having worked on farms in the Netherlands and in New Zealand he got to witness first-hand the benefits of a structured work week and the importance of work life balance for staff, who would return refreshed after their weekends away from the farm.
Mark has two full time staff on the farm David and Sarah, who have both been with him for the past two years. There is additional support at calving for c. 10 weeks and relief milking is provided by students.
A staff meeting takes place every Tuesday on the farm where priority items for the week ahead and items of note are discussed. Sarah and David have defined roles on the farm with each undertaking one milking per day. The farm has standard operating procedures (SOP’s) in place for all farm activities which are contained with the farm manual. The farm manual is to support all staff on the farm, to outline how tasks should be completed on the farm and to ensure there is no ambiguity.
Mark is always looking into ways of incorporating technology to streamline the system on his farm. Anything that will enable him or the team working on the farm to carry out their tasks remotely or with the use of automation is an area of interest to him. Mark sees the advances in technology as a way to continue to improve his farm and make it a nicer, easier and smarter place to work.