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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘There are not too many evenings that we would be on-farm after 6 pm’ – 150-cow dairy farmer

“I think it is hugely important to have outlets from the farm, but there is no point having those if you cannot be organised and be finished on time in the evening,” Christopher Tuffy, the 2022 FBD Young Farmer of the Year, told viewers of Aurivo’s recent managing health and safety on the farm webinar.

The 150-cow dairy farmer, who was crowned the 2022 FBD Young Farmer of the Year, explained that starting and finishing work early is one of the most important factors in maintaining a good work-life balance when farming.

In this news article, we outline the various technological investments he has made to make the operation of his farm “smoother and more efficient”.

Dairy farming

Tuffy explained to host, Aurivo’s Agri-Businesses’ environmental health and safety specialist, Orla O’Brien: “One lesson I have learned over the years is that, for yourself and your workers, is to try to be finished as early as possible in the evening, and I think it makes your job more enjoyable.”

“Everyone else is finished at 6 pm, and I know we have to start 3 or 4 hours earlier in the morning, but there is no point being out 3-4 hours after them in the evening.”

“For me, managing on-farm and off-farm time is about keeping your labour happy. Let them have the opportunity to finish early in the evening and get finished early yourself.”

“There are not too many evenings, unless there is something going on, that we would be here [on-farm] after 6 pm.”

“The biggest thing we find with securing and and retaining labour is to make work as early as possible in the morning.”

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“We try to milk as early as possible in the morning, which still allows us to milk early in the evening. Then in the evening, we generally finish milking at 6 pm.”

“If I want, I can come in, in the evening, or if there is extra farm work to be done; at least at this point, cows are milked. It just makes the farm a lot more of an attractive place to work, and that is the feedback I have received from relief milkers.”

“I was chatting to one relief milker, and he said he was milking for a farmer, but he stopped because, the biggest reason, was he would be out until 7 pm-8 pm working.”

“That is the thing that I have found with our relief milkers is they love being finished early in the evening, at 5:30 pm or 6 pm.”

Finish on-time

Tuffy finds it is “very important”, especially during the calving season, to be finished early.

“I find that the night gets very long if you do not finish until 7 pm or 8 pm, because you will also come back around 9 pm or 10 pm to have a look around, or they might be a cow calving or something going on.”

“But if you can be finished at 6 pm and into the house, you have three or four hours to yourself. I could use that time to, for example, help Eimear with our baby or play football during the summer, or I go to the gym,” he concluded.

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