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Jason Melbourne on taking his herd from average to top performance in three short years

Jason Melbourne joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to give an insight into how built his career in dairy farming and how he has implemented learnings from the Agricultural College to take his herd from average to top performance in a short period of time.

Jason explains that he first gained an interest in agriculture in his early years while spending time milking and feeding calves on his uncle’s farm.  Wanting to pursue a career in dairy, Jason completed the Level 5 Cert in Agriculture and Level 6 Advanced Cert in Dairy Herd Management at Gurteen College. Subsequently, he then enrolled in the Level 7 Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management to further develop his technical knowledge and skills. 

Jason highlights the significant experience gained during course placements particularly in the area of grassland management, achieving efficiency and working within large scale dairy operations.

The knowledge and experience has helped Jason manage a large dairy herd of 280 cows in East Cork where he has lifted milk solids from 390 kg in 2018 to a predicted 470 kg in 2021 while 6 week calving rate has increased from 60% in 2018 to 83% in 2021 through improved management of cows in the weeks prior to mating start date such as BCS, OAD milking, scanning and a second herd with bulls for later calvers and thin cows.

Additionally, Jason emphasises the focus on growing and utilising high levels of grazed grass and identifying the appropriate stocking rate in order to balance grass supply and demand. Growing 17tonne DM in 2020 means the milking platform is comfortable at carrying a stocking rate of 3.2 cows/ha with supplementation of 600 kg concentrate per cow per year.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge