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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:

  1. 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: 
  2. If you have an Android phone, you can listen to the show by clicking on this link: 
  3. Or you can listen by clicking on the player below:

Episode 46

The role of sexed semen in Irish dairy herds

Stephen Butler joins us to discuss the role of sexed semen in Irish dairy herds. Stephen gave an insight into the sexed semen trial that took place during the breeding season of 2018.

He explained the differences compared with the 2013 trial including the increase in semen quantity from 2 million to 4 million sperm. Conception rates from sexed straws remain lower than conventional straws, with a relative conception rate of 76% which is similar to previous studies.

Stephen addressed the cost of sexed straws which are double that of conventional, but explained where sexed straws are used, less dairy straws are required so farmers have the opportunity to use cheaper beef straws, meaning the overall cost of straws can remain the same.

For more information: What role can sexed semen play (PDF)


Episode 45

Advice for the current grassland situation on farm

John Maher and Fergus Bogue from the Grass10 team join us to examine the current grassland situation on farm. Fergus explains that the average dairy farm on PastureBase has hit an average farm cover of 600kg DM/ha and his advice is to stop grazing immediately!

Fergus explains that it is important to carry grass through the winter for spring gracing and estimates each day at grass will be worth in excess of €3 per cow in the spring.

John Maher recaps on the grass situation for the year, citing that on average, dairy farms grew less than 3 tonnes of grass DM/ha which accounts for almost one cow’s grazed forage diet for the year.

When asked whether some farms have stocked their farms beyond their means John said it is a case by case basis and yes some had.  He explains it's a simple calculation centred around grass production, i.e. Grass growth of 14 tonne DM/ha is required across the whole farm to support a stocking rate of 2.5 cows/ha and where farms are growing less they need to take a critical look at their business.

For more information: Grass10 Newsletter, 27 November 2018 (PDF)


Episode 44

Episode 44: The key areas to focus on to improve farm profitability in 2019

Dairy Specialist George Ramsbottom takes a look at the key areas that farmers should focus on to improve farm profitability in 2019, based on his analysis of the Profit Monitor. 

Farmers can influence income in the form of milk composition and quality - higher fat and protein constituents and low SCC is worth up to 4-5 c/l, giving additional income of €225 per cow.  George gives a guide as to what some of the main costs should look like. 

Firstly, concentrate should be 3-4c/l or €150-200/cow, practically this means a cow is fed 500-700 kg concentrate. With many farmers, additional concentrate beyond this point is not resulting in any additional profit. Secondly, fertiliser should be 2-3c/kg or €120-150/cow. 

George makes particular reference to use of lime and explained that where pH is correct on farms, the efficiency of other nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium will be improved leading to greater grass production.

He sums up by explaining farmers need to get the basics right - excellent fertility (for both the herd and soils) and focus on grassland, and get cows out early allowing a long lactation from a predominantly grazed grass diet.

For more information: Systems_levyinaction (PDF)


Listen to previous episodes here: Podcast Archive