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Meet Signpost Dairy Farmer Steven Fitzgerald


Steven Fitzgerald is a dairy farmer milking 170 cows in Co. Waterford. He has a beef enterprise also. The plan is to milk 200 cows and decrease the beef enterprise over time. As part of the Signpost programme Steven strives for more efficiency on farm through breeding and grazing improvements

Steven Fitzgerald

Steven is farming with his wife Catriona and his parents near Aglish in West Waterford. Steven and Catriona’s family is made up of 3 young boys.  They are farming 132 Ha of which 65Ha is leased. The milking platform is 75Ha. They are milking 170 cows this year and 47replacement units. All beef calves are brought to stores for sale. The plan is to milk 200 cows and decrease the beef enterprise over time. The highest point of the farm is 600 feet above sea level. In 2021 the cows supplied 522KgMS/Hd. Steven works full time on the farm with help from his father and mother. Soil fertility is low on the leased land & is very good on the owned land. The EBI of the herd is €195 & the young stock have an EBI of €261. The calving interval is 367 days & a 93% six week calving rate.

Farmyard

The parlour which was built in 2007 has 12 units and it is currently being replaced with a new one, 25 units with stall work for 28 units. There will be a new collecting yard, drafting facilities, and handling facilities with an aim to have 1 person set up. Also, the existing road exiting the yard is being widened and taking off any turns to allow for an easier exit from the new parlour. There are 162 cubicles in total and slurry storage for all cows and replacements plus some spare capacity. There is accommodation to calve 35-40 cows at any one time and we have calf space for 180 calves at peak. Milk is transported to calves by a 50 teat mobile feeder and calves are all fed milk replacer.

Grazing

There is 36 paddocks on the milking block of which 15 are 24hrs and 21 are 36hrs. We have about 2.5 km of roadways which is pretty much what we need. Water troughs are located in the centre of each field, with 32mm pipe and the farm is serviced quite well for water

Breeding 2022

Breeding 2022 was 9 weeks in length. All AI was used with bulls at the last week or so. 110 sexed semen straws were purchased, 30 on the heifers and balance for the cows. Criteria for the cows was any animal in the first 7-10 days with a fertility sub index of >€90 and EBI > than €200 got sexed semen. So far Steven is happy with the results of this work. Finishing at 9 weeks no calving after the 1st week in April. This allows every cow to be submitted in the 1st 3 weeks of breeding in 2023.

Grazing 2022

From Jan to July 2022 the farm has grown 6.63 tonnes of grass DM/Ha, 0.7 tonnes greater than the same time period in 2021. Over 70% of the milking parlour has now clover incorporated into it. We are concentrating more on clover management and using less chemical fertilizer especially in the last 2 years. It is a work in progress!


Steven Fitzgerald features as one of three Signpost farmers in the August Teagasc Signpost Programme e-Newsletter | You, A friend or colleague can subscribe to this e-newsletter by clicking the subscribe button below

blue    The Teagasc Signpost Programme e-Newsletter will issue monthly and you can read it here each month on on Teagasc Daily.

Signpost Programme Partners

The Signpost Programme is a collaborative partnership of farmers, industry and State Agencies, working together for climate action.


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