Pat and his son Eddie farm outside Ballingarry. Eddie is a recent graduate from Dairy Business and works off farm. They are currently milking 147 cows (Overall SR = 2.6, Milking platform SR = 2.7) and Eddie would like to milk 160 in the next few years. A small number of beef calves are kept and reared on the farm and sold as bull beef in November/December at 20-21 months of age while the dairy heifers are reared by Eddie on an out-farm. In 2015 the farm sold 434kg MS per cow (1060kg MS/ha, 5,400 ltrs/cow at 4.22% fat, 3.57% protein). Last year the farm utilised approximately 11 tonnes of dry matter/ha and fed 550kg of meal per cow. As the herd expands to 160 cow’s, improvements in grass growth and utilisation will be required. More than 12.5 tDM/ha of grass will have to be grown to sustain the higher milking platform stocking rate if meal intake is to stay below 500kg. Each year a portion of the milking platform is reseeded in order to maximize grass growth.
The goal on Kennedy’s farm is simple; to produce 450kg of milk/cow at 3.6% protein and 4.3% fat on less than 500kg of meal. However to achieve this, all performance targets have to be met all of the time. Meeting these targets is only achieved by forward planning and resolving issues issues before they impact production. Pat and Eddie carry out a pre-breeding scan every year to identify and treat problem cows before the start of breeding. This year a high percentage (10%) of cows presented with retained placentas. Had these cows not been identified and treated early, they would have hampered Pat and Eddies submission and conception rates resulting in a lower six week calving rate. Doing a pre-breeding scan gives farmers a chance to rectify problems before the start of breeding and achieve maximum submission rates. Completing budgets, pre-breeding scans, milk recording etc., gives the Kennedys a chance to solve problems promptly and track performance. As the herd expands to 160 cow’s, improvements in grass growth and utilisation will be required. More than 12.5 tDM/ha of grass will have to be grown to sustain the higher milking platform stocking rate if meal intake is to stay below 500kg.