John Ryan from Gortnahoe, Co. Tipperary, switched from dry stock and tillage enterprises to milking cows back in 2011.
He started with 70 cows back in 2011 but increased to 135 after the abolition of milk quotas.
After he left Rockwell in 1999, John decided to come home and farm full-time alongside his father, who is still involved in the farm today.
The farm has a 34-hectare grazing platform for the 135 cows. At a stocking rate of just less than 4 LU/Ha, there is no room for any further expansion on the land he has.
“We’ve 36 hectares up the road for rearing replacements, silage and zero-grazing. We zero-graze through the shoulders of the year. The farm is capable of growing enough grass through the summer.”
Everything under one roof
On this farm, every animal is housed within the same shed. “It makes it so much easier from a labour point of view, for feeding and looking after them.”
They are also developing old sheds to create more space for calves. This will prevent any problems if they need to hold on to calves for longer in the future.
The South Tipperary farmer is a participant in the Teagasc/Glanbia Open Source Future Farm Joint Programme. From joining the programme, he hopes to make the farm more sustainable.
“From a land perspective, I’m stuck at these cow numbers. I want to make my farm more sustainable by spreading protected urea, using a trailing shoe and improving the genetics of my cows to produce more milk solids.”
Video produced and edited by Teagasc