Fitzgerald Family Virtual Farm Walk
On Thursday October 1st the Fitzgerald fanily from Portlaw in County Waterford opened the gates of their farm for a virtual farm walk. The theme for the day was reducing the carbon footprint of milk production systems. Below is an overview of the day, their farm, their cows and reducing nitrogen.
The Fitzgerald farm is part of the Teagasc/Glanbia Open Source Future Farm Programme. The programme aims to harness advancements in technology and farm practices to support farmers to make the necessary changes for a profitable and sustainable future. A key objective of the programme is to help farmers implement changes to ensure that their environmental footprint is in line with the aims of the national Climate Action Plan
A Strong emphasis is placed on soil nutrient management, utilising high yields of quality grass, effective Nitrogen usage and the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) of the herds to help boost productivity. Find out more about the programme here
The first video gives an introduction to the programme and the virtual open day.
This second video Shane gives an insight intp the cows they are using. The herd predominantly Holstein Friesian with a high EBI. They are a very young herd with 50% first and second lactations. The EBI of the herd at the moment is 144 and 211 for the young stock. The plan going forward is produce 520 kg milk solids by maturing the herd and improving the genetics in the herd.
The Fitzgeralds are doing a number of things on the farm to reduce nitrogen usage. The main target is to improve soil fertility, increase pH, spread lime each year and build on P & K. They reseed 10% of the farm every year and incorporate clover into the mix. They try to cut down on nitrogen in spring and autumn by using LESS (low emission slurry spreading) on half the farm and protected urea on the other half.
View all the proceedings from the day here