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The Cullinane Monitor Farm in West Cork

John and Veronica Cullinane are dairy farming with their three children; Eoin, Aoife and Laura in Ballineen. Co Cork. They milk 140 cows on a milking platform of 53 hectares and farm outside blocks for replacement heifers and silage. Aoife Healy, Teagasc Dairy advisor discusses their April tasks

Cows are fed 4kgs of meal in the parlour and the current performance of the herd is 30 litres at 3.74 % Butterfat and 3.44 % protein. They are producing high quality milk with Somatic Cell Count at 40.

Key Tasks for April:

The herd will be milk recorded in the coming week.  This is critical for producing high quality milk and enables them to deal with any mastitis cases quickly.  The farm was soil sampled in early February.  Slurry and fertiliser has been applied accordingly and nutrients targeted at those fields and paddocks that need the nutrients most.

The second grazing round started on Monday the 4th April but John is still zero grazing the silage ground on an out farm for the evening grass.  All the milking platform has got 60 units of Nitrogen made up of fertiliser and topped up with slurry to reach the target.  It is important to reach this level to ensure there is a good supply of grass in the second and third grazing rounds.  The Cullinane’s have invested in additional slurry storage over the past winter, which meant that they did not need to spread any slurry until mid-March.  Slurry has been sent for laboratory analysis tog et an accurate reading on the N,P,K content of the slurry produced on the farm.  To date, the silage ground has got 2,500 gallons per acre of slurry and based on the analysis results.  This will be topped up with 24-2.5-10 fertiliser to reach the required fertiliser level for a good yield of 1st cut silage.

Breeding for 2022 commenced on 20th April.  All cows are calved since the end of March.  Conception to first service in 2021 was 70%.  High submission rates and good conception rates are a prerequisite of a tight calving pattern.  Cows that had problems at calving, have been washed out and cows lacking in condition have got a fertility mineral.  The herd will be bred to a team of high EBI black and White bulls for the first 3 weeks. Gene Ireland straws with an average EBI of €325 will be used as part of the bull team.  John and Veronica have traditionally reared and sold incalf heifers from the herd but this year due to the declining market, they are considering using a beef sires towards the end of the breeding season.  John does his own DIY AI on the farm.  Insemination will be done morning and evening based on observations of heat.  Heat detection aids are used on the farm to help

Read more here about Carbery and Teagasc joint programme 2021 – 2025 for West Cork farmers 

Advisor Profile:  Aoife Healy is a Business & Technology Dairy Advisor based in the Teagasc Office in Clonakilty.  She works with farmers in the Dunmanway area. 

Along with Teagasc specialists and researchers, Teagasc advisors also regularly provide articles of interest on Teagasc Daily