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Clonakilty Agricultural College Farm

Clonakility Farm Update:23rd October 2017  (PDF)

Clonakilty Agricultural College has been involved in agricultural education since 1905 and since 2012 has been undertaking research in dairy production systems and breed comparisons.

Farm manager - Fergal Coughlan Researcher - Brian McCarthy 


History: The farm was purchased in 1905 as an educational training facility and has been involved in education since then. In 2012 a research project was initiated and set up on the farm.

Location: Latitude 51°63’N, Longitude -08°85’E, height above sea level 25 – 70 m.

Area: 84 ha (dairy effective, 29 ha Drystock (beef & sheep) effective)

Milking Cows: 160 – 180 (subject to scientific and educational requirements)

System: Spring calving dairy herd. Typically cows are turned out to pasture directly post-calving and annually achieve a 300-day grazing season. All male calves are sold at 2 weeks old. All replacement stock are reared on-farm.

Soil Type: Free-draining acid brown earth of light loam to gley soil loam in texture

Paddocks: 110 (80 experimental paddocks, 20 paddocks per treatment)

Dairy Infrastructure:

  • 20 unit herringbone parlour with automatic cow ID, automatic cluster removers, daily electronic milk weighting and sampling, in parlour feeding, milking behaviour recording, weighting and drafting facilities
  • 180 cow winter housing shed

ClonakiltyAgriculturalCollegeMap (134KB, PDF)

Currently the Clonakilty experiment is comparing Holstein-Friesian, Jersey X Holstein-Friesian and Norwegian Red X Jersey X Holstein-Friesian genotypes under 4 grass-based production systems. Equal numbers of each genotype are assigned to each of the 4 grazing treatments.

Mean Calving date: 10th February

No. of 1st lactation animals: 45

Sires used: 

Holstein-Friesian – SEW, BGJ, FR2007, FR2056, YKG, ZRL

Jersey - OKM, White Star Greg, OKT,

Norwegian Red – EGE, EKE

(October 2016, ICBF)

The effect of tetraploid and diploid swards with and without clover inclusion on the productivity of spring milk production systems

The utilisation of increased quantities of grazed grass at farm level will provide the basis of sustainable livestock systems that will help Ireland to achieve the 50% milk production increase targeted in the Food Harvest-2020 report. This will be achieved by increasing stocking rate, improving grassland management and increasing grass production through the identification of grass cultivars more suitable for grazing dairy cows. Recent research has indicated that grass cultivars effect milk production, as animals that grazed tetraploid produced more milk than animals that grazed diploid monocultures. These results are from component experiments and need to be extrapolated into larger systems experiments. Therefore, there is a requirement to quantify the effect of ploidy on milk production at a system level over the entire grazing season. Clover has also shown beneficial effects on grass and milk production. Cow genotype has an effect on milk production and three distinct genotypes (Holstein-Friesian (HF), HF x Jersey (J) and HF x J x Norwegian Red) will also be evaluated in this study. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of tetraploid and diploid cultivars with and without clover inclusion and cow genotype on the productivity of spring calving milk production systems.