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Open Source Future Farms

The Open Source Future Farm Programme will harness advancements in technology and farm practices to support farmers to make the necessary changes for a profitable and sustainable future.

A key objective of this programme is to help farmers implement changes to ensure that their environmental footprint is in line with the aims of the national Climate Action Plan.

A key priority in the programme will be to introduce digital technologies and practices particularly in the area of labour efficiency.

Strong emphasis will be placed on soil nutrient management, utilising high yields of quality grass, effective Nitrogen usage and the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) of the herds to help boost productivity.

Follow the Kilkenny and Waterford farmers taking part in the programme: 

Shane and John P. Fitzgerald Waterford | Cathal Moran Kilkenny | Steven Fitzgerald WaterfordFrancis Nolan Kilkenny 

Cathal Moran

Cathal from Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny is farming 177ha of which 57 is owned. The milking platform consists of 120 Ha. In 2019 he milked 328 cows with 100 replacement units and the plan is to increase to 390 cows and rear 100 replacement units. In 2018 the herd supplied 450 kgMS/Hd.  The EBI of the herd is €140 and the younger stock is €200. The calving interval is 367 days and the six week calving rate is 93%. Cathal plans to build an underpass and silage pits in the next few years. He installed solar panels recently.  Cathal has 1.5 labour units employed on the farm.

Check out the Moran farm updates here 

Francis Nolan

Francis is farming near Coolcullen in North Co Kilkenny. He is a new entrant to dairying, he is farming 70 Ha of which 4Ha is rented. All the land is available for cows. The land type is heavy and is 900 feet above sea level.  In 2019 he milked 130 cows and he had 50 replacement units. The overall stocking rate on the farm is 2.6 Lu/Ha.  The farm grew 12 ton of grass DM/Ha in 2019. Silage and straw were bought to make up the deficit. The EBI of the herd is €125 and the younger stock have an EBI of €180. The calving interval is 371 days with 80% calving in 6 weeks. The plan for the farm is to milk about 130 cows and keep 40 replacement units. This will be dictated by how much the farm can grow in the next couple of years. Soil fertility improvement, drainage and reseeding are required. There is a part time labour unit on the farm and the plan is to keep the system simple and easy to manage.

Check out the Nolan farm updates here 

Shane and John P. Fitzgerald

Shane is farming with his father John P. near Portlaw Co. Waterford. They are farming 92 Ha of which 30 Ha is leased. All the land is available to cows. The heifers are contract reared. They are currently milking 200 cows with an EBI of €138. The plan is to milk 210 cows and increase the solids produced per cow by 40 kg trough better genetics, fertility and grass.

The EBI of the younger stock is €185. All infrastructures on the farm have been upgraded. The calving interval for the herd is 371 days with a six week calving rate of 88%.

They make their own silage and spread their own fertilizer and slurry

Check out the Fitzgerald farm updates here 

Steven Fitzgerald

Steven is farming with his parents near Aglish in West Waterford. Steven is married with a young family. They are farming 121 Ha of which 52 Ha is leased. The milking platform is 70 Ha. They are milking 123 cows in 2019 and 40 replacement units. All beef calves are brought to stores for sale. The plan is to milk 180 cows and decrease the beef enterprise over time. Parlour and accommodation has been upgraded in the last 10 years. The highest point of the farm is 600 feet above sea level. Soil fertility is low on the leased land and ok on the owned land.

The EBI of the herd is €145 and the young stock have an EBI of €200. The calving interval is 367 days and a 93% six week calving rate. In 2018 the cows supplied 524KgMS/Hd.

Check out the Fitzgerald farm updates here