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Optimized Milking Intervals with Sean Kelly, Tipperary

Dairy farmer, Sean Kelly from Tipperary outlines his milking times for the farm. Sean finds the 16/8 milking interval optimises milk production and milk quality while allowing flexibility to take some time off the farm.

Sean Kelly, a dairy farmer from Kilruane, Nenagh, in County Tipperary, focuses on efficiency, animal welfare, and work-life balance. Alongside his father, Patrick, Sean manages a dairy operation that milks 120 cows. Their approach emphasizes two key areas: grass utilization and high-breed genetics. This method has led to impressive results, with their cows producing 580 kilos of milk solids and achieving a growth of 18 tons of grass from just 800 kilos of meal.

Milking on the Kelly farm starts at 5:30 AM and again at 2:30 PM. This schedule is designed to ensure that by 4:30 PM, Sean can finish his farm duties and enjoy his personal time. Sean values his work-life balance, engaging in hobbies and community activities.

Sean's decision to adopt this milking schedule was met with concern about potential yield loss and increased somatic cell counts (SCC). However, trials showed no negative impact on the cows or milk production as long as there was an eight-hour interval between milkings. The results speak for themselves, with the farm maintaining its high production levels and a low SCC of 111 for the year.

The Kelly family farm demonstrates that it is possible to run a successful business while ensuring the well-being of the people involved. By adopting these working hours, Sean has also made dairy farming more appealing to other potential workers and future farmers.