Successful dairy farming is all about doing the little things right

Successful dairy farming generally results from carrying out ordinary tasks on the farm correctly rather than any major new innovation or expensive changes.

At this time of the year, many dairy farmers are inclined to relax after a long year and may overlook important jobs. But a little extra effort now will be well rewarded in the longer term.

Fortunately due to modernisation of farmyards and winter accommodation layouts many farmers have more time to concentrate on management tasks rather than spending most of their time pushing slurry and feeding animals.

As regards winter accommodation for dairy cows, there have been some new innovations in the last few decades but none very successful.

There was a big push by so called “progressive farmers” for winter grazing which has generally been proved a disaster. Out wintering pads became another high profile innovation that has only limited success, especially with milking cows.

In recent times there is renewed talk about topless cubicles which has been proved to be unsuccessful many times in the past.

As far as most farmers that are starting or expanding in dairying are concerned, the tried and tested indoor cubicles and easy feed system is the best option. Indeed most farmers that are expanding should make best use of the accommodation they have by ensuring good milk yields per cow.

On average, Irish cows are producing only 80% of their potential if they have good grass and moderate concentrate feeding.


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