Achieving a balance between producing more milk and having a ‘quality of life’ means that many dairy farmers will be required to examine both labour usage and efficiency on dairy farms, according to Teagasc Dairy Specialist, Pat Clarke.
Speaking at a recent Teagasc/ ICOS Dairy Expansion Seminar, he said that in order to achieve efficient use of work time, farmers need to operate simple dairying systems, have adequate facilities for their herd size and make timely use of contractors.
Mr Clarke indicated that those farmers who start the evening milking around 4.30pm have consistently been shown to be more labour efficient due to being more organised between the two milkings.
Numerous studies have shown that an earlier evening milking time has no effect on milk yield, while it allows more evening time for family and lifestyle.
He also highlighted the importance of having suitable buildings, machinery and equipment and a farm infrastructure.
In particular, he emphasised having adequate milking machine capacity as milking typically uses 34% of a dairy farmer’s total working time.
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