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Labour Efficiency - "Enjoyable and Easier Farming"

Welcome to the focus farms “Enjoyable and Easier Farming" weekly update. Six farmers who are focussed on making their farm more enjoyable and easier have kindly agreed to share their experiences of their farm practices. Martina Gormley Teagasc Dairy specialist will analyse and provide a summary after each quarter for the six farms.If you have any queries about any of the six farmers or the labour efficient practices please contact martina.gormley@teagasc.ie

Check out the Spring 2020 Summary here and Summer 2020 Summary here

Week ending: Sunday 2nd August

Jimmy Cotter

Farm Profile: Jimmy Cotter (120 cows)
Morning milking (cups on): 7:15
Evening milking (cups on): 17:00
No. of milkings by farmer: 10
Farmers hours per week: 25
Employee/family hours/week: 7
Contractor used this week: None

Comment:  Workload is still quiet these days. The main jobs are milking, putting up wires and fertiliser. Only milking 6 rows of cows is proving week on week to be a massive time saver on this farm. It frees up so much time to do other work or to get time away from the farm. Building covers to keep the cows out longer is the big priority these days. To build covers concentrates will have to increase and a few high SCC cows will also be sold. I’ll keep grass measuring and use this to aid my decisions. 

Jeremiah & Maria Daly

Farm Profile: Jeremiah & Maria Daly (60 cows OAD)
Morning milking (cups on): 6.30
Evening milking (cups on): OAD
No. of milkings by farmer: 6
Farmers hours per week: 19
Employee/family hours/week: 5
Contractor used this week: None

Comment: We got 45mm of rain Wednesday night. To overcome challenges like this we mix and match our ground to the weather conditions. We didn’t always have this approach. We used to be on a rotation and graze the same paddocks at the same time. I now realise that you need a plan and this plan works well and we have target covers of 1200-1400 on both dry and wet land so we mix and match when needed. This means we get better graze outs, re growths and milk solids hold up better as well. This way you are never exposed to a few days of wet weather.


Steven Fitzgerald

Farm Profile: Steven Fitzgerald (145 cows)
Morning milking (cups on): 6:30
Evening milking (cups on): 15:30
No. of milkings by farmer: 13
Farmers hours per week: 62
Employee/family hours/week: 23
Contractor used this week: Bales, dairy washings & reseeding

Comment: We had the contractor in a good bit last week. We took out 30 surplus bales from the milking block, emptied the dairy washing tank and reseeded 10 acres. This is the last of the reseeding for this year. When time and the weather is against you the contractor really comes into their own. The amount of work that they can get done in a few hours is unreal. There’s no way I could compete with that and I have no intention of trying either. I also got a young neighbour in to do some tractor work with the reseeded field, this saved me from having to spend a few hours spreading fertiliser and rolling. 

Tim Kelly 

Farm Profile: Tim Kelly (135 cows)
Morning milking (cups on): 7:00
Evening milking (cups on): 4.00
No. of milkings by farmer: 10
Farmers hours per week: 49
Employee/family hours/week: 10
Contractor used this week: Grass measuring

Comment: My workload for the last week included 10 milking, dosing the calves and fencing. I also arranged for the stock bull to be collected and brought to the factory. He was breaking out and this is hassle I don’t need. I avoid hassle as much as I can. I have taken Sundays off all through the summer and usually a half day on a Saturday. My milker wants to milk Saturday and Sundays, which is fine by me. I take off with the family and make the most of those days. I’m not going to be standing around watching over any help that comes into the farm.

Seamus and Brian Molamphy 

Farm Profile: Seamus and Brian Molamphy (130 cows)
Morning milking (cups on): 7.30
Evening milking (cups on): 17.00
No. of milkings by farmer: 13
Farmers hours per week: 48
Employee/family hours/week: 10
Contractor used this week: None

Comment:  I took time off Sunday and got the relief milker in Sunday evening. Last week’s work included 13 milking’s, spreading fertiliser on the silage ground and maintenance of the mower. We have a bag lifter on the back of the tractor and the manure spreader sits onto it. We have it 9 years now, it’s quicker as there’s no loader work required and it’s safer than other options.

Morty O Sullivan

Farm Profile: Morty O'Sullivan (110 cows)
Morning milking (cups on): 7:30
Evening milking (cups on): 17:00
No. of milkings by farmer: 11
Farmers hours per week: 54
Employee/family hours/week: 16
Contractor used this week: Silage

Comment: We got the second cut last Tuesday. We took the chance and it paid off. We cut 37 acres for the pit and 5 acres of bales from the milking block. We now have 100% of silage made. We spent a few hours stripping the existing pit, once you have arranged help it makes the job easy. No way would I do this job on my own. The contractor helps to cover the pit; this is the way he works. With the machinery they have now, silage making has been simplified and is now a small job. Going back 30 years ago 40 acres would take a week.