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Signpost Programme Farmer: Joe Carroll

Signpost Programme Farmer: Joe Carroll

Meet Joe Carroll, one of our Signpost Programme Farmers. Joe milks 84 dairy cow herd on a 25.5 hectare milking block in Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry. Joe is also a member of the Kerry Agribusiness Joint Programme.

Challenges: The carbon footprint for his dairy enterprise is 0.90kg CO2e / kg fat and protein corrected milk.

Joe continues to adapt his way of farming to reduce his carbon footprint based on key principles outlined below.

Farm Advisor: Nora O’Donovan

Signpost Farm Measures Undertaken


Average herd EBI is €166 and he uses a large team of high EBI bulls which target improvements in milk composition, health and fertility. The six week calving rate of the herd was 94% with a calving interval of 361 days.


Concentrates constitute approximately 10% of GHG emissions from dairy farming. Last year he supplemented cows with 650 kg of concentrate and fed low protein concentrates.

Extended Grazing

Average grazing season length was approximately 272 days. Last year Joe completed 40 grass walks which ensured efficient utilisation of grass on the farm. Milking cows were out full time since 23rd of February this year.

Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS)

Joe spreads 60% of slurry in spring with 40% spread after the first cut of silage. All slurry is spread using LESS techniques.

Soil Fertility

Joe soil samples annually which gives him a better indication of the nutrient requirements of the soil. He made the transition from CAN to protected urea to decrease the nitrate and ammonia losses.

Energy Efficiency

A new gas water heater was installed in the milking parlour this spring to reduce electricity requirements. He also installed energy efficient LED lights in calving pens.

Clover and grazing infrastructure

Hedgerow and tree establishment is difficult due to his close proximity to the sea. Joe will include clover in his reseeding plans to reduce the dependence on artificial nitrogen fertiliser use. He also plans on improving grazing infrastructure to decrease the energy required for the cows to walk to and from the parlour as well as reducing lameness issues.

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