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O'Donnell Dairy Farm Open Day- Greenfield Dairy Programme

An open day will take place on one of two commercial dairy farms in the Greenfield Dairy Programme on Friday, 7 September. Daniel O'Donnell farms near Cappoquin, Co. Waterford and as the farm enters its third year in the Greenfield Dairy Programme some clear messages are emerging. Farmers can visit the farm and ask questions about the lessons learned on 7 September at 10.30 am.

The Teagasc Greenfield Dairy Programme aims to provide family farmers with the skills and technologies to expand milk production and profitably grow their businesses into the future. At farm level, this will necessitate the adoption of key technologies including high quality pasture management and low cost labour efficient farm infrastructures.

Teagasc dairy specialist Abigail Ryan said: "if this farm can get through this difficult year then it will survive any year! It gets higher annual rainfall and land type, is not as free draining and hence requires more on-farm drainage and investment than the other Greenfield programme farms. This is a typical dairy farm moving from milking 60 to 100 over a five year timeframe."

Farmers will have the opportunity to hear about the principles of producing milk in a post quota scenario on a heavy soil farm in the Knockmealdown Mountains. The profit the farm is making after repaying loans, the cost of producing milk, farm development costs and costs for all aspects of the business will be presented.

To date there has been considerable development on-farm in drainage and reseeding to allow the farm to grow and graze more grass. Host farmer Daniel O'Donnell will outline the infrastructure on the farm and the investment involved to develop it and the plan for future development. He was milking approximately 60 cows in 2008 and today he milks 81 cows on his family run farm. He will talk about his plans to milk 100 cows next year.

Due to the high levels of rainfall on this upland farm has being a very challenging year. Daniel will describe how he managed his stock and grass throughout this difficult grazing year. There will be a discussion on the winter and there will be opportunities to meet Teagasc advisers to discuss your own options on winter feed.

Daniel like many other farmers in Ireland is monitoring cash flow on his farm. He uses the Teagasc cost control planner monthly to manage his cash flow. The Teagasc financial specialist James McDonnell will give some tips on cash flow management.

Farmers will have the opportunity to walk among the cows, hear the current production and performance, and discuss the fertility performance of the herd after a very wet summer. Researchers and advisers will be available on the day.

In Summary

  • See and hear how this heavy upland farm is surviving after the exceptionally wet summer
  • An opportunity to hear and speak to the O’ Donnell family
  • Listen to the lessons learned and the future plans of this farm
  • Hear how Cash Flow is managed
  • Observe the herd and farm after one of the wettest summers on record.