The Dairy Edge Podcast
The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s weekly dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey the podcasts will cover the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.
There are three ways to listen to the podcast:
- If you’re an iPhone user you can listen to the show by subscribing on Apple Podcasts by clicking on this link and listening via your Podcasts app on your iPhone:
- If you have an Android phone, you can listen to the show by clicking on this link:
- Or you can listen by clicking on the player below:
Dairy specialist Stuart Childs joins Emma-Louise Coffey to explain the various steps to optimise breeding performance for your farm.
Stuart identifies 3-week submission rate as the most important KPI for farmers to target.
He considers the length of time to mating start date which is anywhere between 10 and 20 days away. Stuart recommends tail painting the whole herd and addressing cows who fail to cycle.
Many farmers have changed the calving date on their farms following the difficult spring in 2018. While 2018 presented a particularly difficult spring, Stuart recommends farmers don't make a dramatic change to their normal calving start date based on one year!
Stuart also discussed all the heat detection aids available from visual observation to tail paint, scratch cards, teaser bulls to the more recent technology aids, explaining that all heat detection aids work but if they aren't hitting targets, he recommends you look to the cow and also the detection method to see how you can improve.
Finally, Stuart reminds us of synchronisation protocols that can be used routinely for heifers and anoestrus cows and he reminds us to be very clear on the protocol to ensure each step is taken at the correct time.
For more information: Breeding Management
In part 2 of our interview with John McNamara, we find out about the grassland management on John's dairy farm.
John explains that the grazing season starts in August of the previous year. He starts extending his grazing rotation and building farm cover in August, hitting peak farm cover in later September and closing the farm from at an appropriate cover to carry grass into the spring.
He explains that the farm is heavy meaning the shoulder periods of the grazing season can be a challenge. John accepts this challenge each year by employing all the grazing technologies such as on/off grazing and back fencing.
When considering KPIs for grazing, John thinks figures like 10 grazings per paddock are really important for him and believes if you can get off to a good start during the spring rotation, you are on the right track.
Turning our attention to the Grass 10 open day on his farm in Knockainey on April 24th, John welcomes all farmers and their families to the event. On the day, we can expect to get an insight to excellence in grassland on the McNamara family farm.
2018 Grass 10 champion John McNamara joins Emma-Louise Coffey to talk through his farming career and some of the people who have helped him along the way.
John explains that the farm has been in the McNamara family for three generations and he considers the changes that have taken place over the last 20 years since he returned home farming.
At that time the McNamaras were milking between 50-60 cows on a 25 ha platform. John and his wife Olive now milk 250 cows on a land base of 116 ha. John explains that expansion happened on the basis of the ability to grow grass as the main source of feed.
The McNamaras won Farmyard of the Year in 2009, 40 years on from his father winning a similar competition that recognises farms general neatness and work organisation. John explains that his parents instilled a strong work ethic as well as pride of place in their farm as divers that saw them being recognised on both occasions.
John’s community spirit is evident throughout his farming career being involved in Macra and with his local community, and in particular the GAA. He highlights the importance of work, life balance having an outlet away from the farm. John believes dairy farming is a socially and financially rewarding career and offers a great way of life for farmers and their families.
Listen to previous episodes here: Podcast Archive