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Current Farm Update

Raymond Goggin is farming at Templemartin, Bandon Co Cork with his wife Delia.  They have three children Cian, Conor and Aoibhinn.  Raymond and Delia are one of the Teagasc Signpost demonstration farms who are leading the way in reducing GHG emissions on their farms along with improving water quality, biodiversity and increasing profit margins from farming.

Herd Fertility

Raymond farms 59 hectares with a milking block of 40ha and one outside block that is used for silage and rearing heifers.  He is currently milking 124 cows and has always had a strong focus on EBI with his black and white herd having an EBI of €189 which puts them in the top 5% of herds ranked on EBI in Ireland. By increasing the herds EBI – herd fertility will improve therefore less replacement animals are required and production is higher with a more efficient cow.  Improving herd EBI is one of the biggest tools that dairy farmers can use on their farms to reduce emissions. 

Milk Solids

Last spring, Raymond calved 78% of his herd in 6 weeks using a replacement rate of 18%.  He sold 530kg milk solids per cow to Dairygold co-op in 2021 or 64,700kg in total.  The average Dairygold supplier last year had a herd EBI of €129 and sold 437kg milk solids per cow.  When you do the simple calculation, this means that Raymond needed 26 cows less than the average Dairygold supplier to produce the same amount of milk solids.  That’s a lot of cows producing a lot of extra emissions and costing more to Raymond.

Grassland Management

Reducing fertiliser while maintaining grass production will be a challenge on Raymond’s farm like many other dairy farms, but he is up for the challenge!  In 2021 Raymond spread 220kg nitrogen/ha across the whole farm and this was further reduced in 2022 to 193kg nitrogen/ha across the whole farm.   Part of this reduction in nitrogen was due to Raymond not spreading fertilizer during a period of the summer due to the drought. By the end of September this year, the farm has grown 10.3tn grass DM/ha compared to 11.3 tonnes grass DM/ha grown in same period in 2021.  This reduction of grass is mainly due to the severe drought that the farm experienced in 2022.  PastureBase Ireland data shows that grass production was reduced by up to 1.5tonnsDM/ha on drier farms across the country this year due to severe soil moisture deficits.

Protected Urea

Raymond predominately uses protected urea fertilizer.  In 2021 50% of the chemical nitrogen spread was in the form of protected urea and he increased this to 82% in 2022.  Raymond is very pleased with protected urea, especially as it is cheaper than CAN based fertilizers.  Teagasc research has shown that protected urea grows the same tonnage of grass as CAN and straight urea and can reduce our GHG and ammonia emissions by over 70%.  With the agriculture sector emissions target reduction set at 25%, making a switch to protected urea products like Raymond has done, is a very simple but very effective tool for all farmers to reduce emissions.


As well as optimising soil fertility and with better use of slurry application on farm – clover will play a role in reducing chemical nitrogen.   Raymond tried out three different methods to incorporate clover in this year.  In one field that was reseeded in 2021 with 2.25kg clover seed/acre and where there was good establishment of clover– Raymond reduced chemical nitrogen from May onwards to encourage the clover to fix its own nitrogen.  He also reseeded a field this year with 2kg/acre of clover seed in the seed mix, this has received no chemical nitrogen since establishment.  And thirdly, in May Raymond oversowed clover into a field.  Unfortunately oversowing didn’t work out too well for Raymond as he felt it was too late in the year and the lack of moisture didn’t encourage the clover to establish.  Raymond feels that if you want to oversow clover into the right sward you need to do so in April.  We will be following Raymonds progress with interest next year to see how the clover fields progress in 2023!