With restrictions prohibiting large gatherings from taking place, the Irish Grassland Association’s Dairy Summer Tour will take place online this July.
Revisiting three farms that hosted the event from 2014 to 2016, video clips from the farms airing on Twitter and Facebook from Monday to Wednesday, July 20th – 22nd will look back at where the host farmers were at the time they hosted the tour, where they are now and where they see themselves going in the future.
On Thursday, July 23rd, all three hosts will join the Irish Grassland team and sponsors AIB for an online meeting to answer questions about the direction that their farms have gone and about their plans for the future.
Farming outside Oranmore, Co. Galway, Henry Walsh hosted the event in 2015. The farm comprised a 76-ha milking block on free-draining limestone land.
Henry had developed his system of farming to exploit this advantage fully and expanded the herd to milk 240 cows in 2015.
This rapid expansion has brought challenges in terms of infrastructure and labour but critically had not impacted on efficiencies with cows producing 450 kg milk solids throughout the expansion process.
At the time of the event, part of the plan for overwintering involved moving a combination of young stock and dry cows off the milking platform for part of the winter to graze mostly crops of deferred grass.
Milking facilities had become an issue with the 16-unit parlour coming under pressure as herd size increased.
In the year prior to the event, the herd produced an average of 430kg MS/cow from 450 kg of concentrate per cow and had an 85% six-week calving rate that spring.