Ambition and balance are the keys to success for Linda Cliffe, a full-time dairy farmer in County Wicklow.
She previously trained as a makeup artist for film and theatre and worked as a youth worker in Kilkenny until 2011.
Linda is the sixth generation of Hanbidge to farm and breeds all her own replacement heifers and sells stock bulls for breeding. This month marks her tenth year at home, farming.
“My biggest strength on the farm has probably always been organisation and a drive to move the farm forward and a massive love of cows!”
Full time as can be, Linda has two daughters, Zoe (5) and Elsie (3), who keep her extra busy. Linda works in partnership with her father, Alan, and brother, Gordon, milking 115 pedigree Montbeliarde cows.
The biggest challenge was having herd information to hand to all three of them without writing in three notebooks, or scrolling through messages on WhatsApp.
They had basic information like AI serves and calf births in the Herdplus book, but as there is only one of them, they would end up calling each other to check information.
A solution had to be found to achieve successful organisation, and alas came forth AgriNet HerdApp – a collaboration tool for all breeding, milk recording and herd health information in one place and meeting your compliance record-keeping needs.
“We were always going to have to work hard to make it viable for all of us. Information is worth so much when you’re farming. The three of us have different strengths on the farm, which make us work so well as a team.”
Linda is a huge believer in making a list and getting through it during the week. The week starts with a plan, a list to work through and tick off.
The diary part of HerdApp is a help with this because the whole team on the farm are on the same page and knows what the key jobs that need to be achieved are that week.
“A successful week is all animals well, everyone happy, and most, if not all, of your list, ticked off!”
Linda does DIY A.I. and looks forward to seeing the stock that her inseminated cows produce nine months later.
“Calving down a heifer calf and seeing that heifer thrive and eventually end up in the milking herd is what it’s all about. Although it’s a slow process, it’s amazing to see.”
Having the information there instantly for all the team as soon as they need it is a game-changer for Linda: Calf registration, calf DOB when checking when they are due to be weaned or ready for sale.
AI serves, when you are checking the herd, and you have all their current information there in front of you when she calved, if she is being served again, if she revived any medicines recently and milk recording results and analysis.
“Everything is done as we do it rather than making a list and remembering to sit down and send off the information later.”
Become efficient and organised
Linda recommends AgriNet HerdApp to any farmer who wants an effective method of becoming as efficient and organised as can be.
“AgriNet HerdApp made our lives easier. It’s hard to remember everything, I know I certainly cannot, so I have to arm myself with tools to help me stay on top of everything, and AgriNet HerdApp does that. I think every farmer should use it.”
With over 18,000 dairy farmers in Ireland, there are 1.55 million cows milking. The future is bright for dairying in Ireland. Irish dairy farmers are competitive globally, and the Irish milk sector is strengthening year by year.
“As a farm partnership, our biggest aspiration is to be able to farm as efficiently as possible and always striving to find that work, life, family balance.” the full-time dairy farmer concluded.
We look forward to seeing more women in ag farm better with AgriNet HerdApp. You can read last week’s featured interviewee, Ciara Byers.