New Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook Launched to Help Farmers Plan for Future Growth
A new workbook to assist farmers to assess their existing dairy farm infrastructure and to plan for improvements has been launched at the Teagasc National Dairy Open Day, Moorepark’19. The Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook, which was produced by Teagasc in partnership with Ulster Bank, will help farmers to plan improvements in the areas of grazing infrastructure, milking practices and energy use.
Head of the Teagasc Animal and Grassland, Research and Innovation programme, Dr Pat Dillon encouraged all farmers to look at their farm infrastructure and consider where priority investments need to be made. He said; “Improvements will be vital to maximise grass production and utilisation, particularly in the shoulders of the grazing season, and to ensure a sustainable milking routine and work schedule is achieved, and to control energy demand and efficiency on Irish farms.”
Dr. Ailish Byrne, Ulster Bank’s Head of Agriculture said, “We are delighted to sponsor the Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook, which highlights the key grazing and milking technologies all dairy farmers should consider to best position themselves for future growth. It enables farmers to assess their own infrastructure, identify deficits and successfully plan for improvements. At Ulster Bank, we want to help farmers put those plans into action. Our Agriculture Managers recognise the critical importance of good dairy farm infrastructure and are actively meeting farmers across the country to help them realise their ambitions.”
When infrastructure is less than optimum, it can create difficulties in grassland management and utilisation, animal performance and labour input, particularly in periods of poor weather and difficult grazing conditions.
The milking process involves countless interactions between the milker, the milking facilities and the cow and there can be many opportunities for improved labour efficiency, milk quality and welfare of both the milker and the herd if the infrastructure and the process can be optimised.
One of the workbook’s authors, John Upton, Teagasc, advised farmers to carefully monitor and control energy use. He said; ”the economics of new technologies should be assessed to facilitate effective cost control and use efficiency.”
Pat Tuohy from Teagasc, Moorepark, and another author of the workbook, said; “A well-designed, carefully built and properly maintained farm roadway system has many benefits, including, less lameness, less mastitis and better general animal health, faster and easier stock movement, cleaner cows and milk, less roadway maintenance and more efficient paddock access.”
The Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook, produced by Teagasc in partnership with Ulster Bank, is available here: Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook.