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Growing the herd from 50 cows and plans to install a new 16-unit parlour

28-year-old Garrett Hartery farms 80 dairy cows in partnership with his mother, Mary. 

He took the reins of Cullencastle Farm, which is based in Tramore, Co. Waterford, from his father three years ago.

The third-generation farmer upgraded facilities and reseeded ground which, in turn, has allowed him to increase his herd size from 50 to 80 cows, with future expansion plans in the pipeline. 

They farm a total of 180-acres – 110-acres owned with an additional 70-acres leased; with 60-acres dedicated to the grazing platform.

Breeding programme

Spring-calving Holstein-cross-British Friesians are farmed as part of a grass-based system. “I prefer this breed due to their high yields and good solids” 

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“My ideal cow is 75% Holstein and 25% British Friesian. That’s what my current cows are and it is working well for me.” he explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming. 

Cows are AI’d to Friesian sires available from Progressive Genetics over a six-week period, before a team of bulls are introduced to the pastures.

“I usually mop-up with Aberdeen-Angus bulls, but this year, I had two Friesian bulls to mop-up as I am expanding again.”

“Calving gets underway on February 1st because I have dry ground and I’m able to get cows out early in the spring” 

All Friesian heifers are retained as replacements and calve down at 24-months, while all other progeny are sold when they are 4-weeks-old.

“I am happy with my cows’ performance. Last year, the herd average was 7,500L/cow with 550kilos of solids. Cell count was 120, on average.” 

Grassland management 

Grassland management is an important practice on the thriving Waterford-based enterprise, with grass measured once weekly.

“I purchased a grasshopper plate meter this year and it has been very helpful. I spread all the fertiliser and slurry myself on the silage ground and grazing platform.” 

New parlour 

He is currently milking in a 12-unit Power parlour with a 5,000litre muller tank; he also has a Saber drafter which, he added, has been very “labour saving”.

In November, the young farmer will be installing a new 16-unit Dairymaster parlour with feed to yield, automatic cluster removers, milk recording and a new drafter. 

“I will also have Moo-Monitors on all the cows to help with heat detection. I will also be installing an 11,900ltr bulk tank.” 

“I believe technology is the future of farming and that is why I am incorporating it into my farming system as its labour saving and helps me make better management decisions.” 

Future 

The installation of a new parlour and bulk tank, coupled with leasing additional ground, will allow Hartey to increase his herd to 140 cows next year. 

“I would expand more if more land near me became available. Going forward, I would like to focus more on compact calving and breeding cows with better yields and better solids and reseeding more ground.” 

“I think that with more technology becoming available, people are better able to manage a higher number of cows with fewer labour units.”  

“Expanding the herd and reseeding more ground are my main goals,” Garrett concluded. 

To share your story, email – catherina@thatsfarming.com

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