Alongside nutrition, grassland management and milking skills, dairy farmers also need to ensure that their cows are happy and healthy.
Ensuring this will have a positive impact on the dairy farm’s bottom line and that the returns generated for each monthly milk cheque are maximised.
In the coming days, two new entrant dairy farmers will map their dairy farming journeys; both farmers will also discuss the steps they have taken to maximise cow comfort through the use of EASYFIX cubicles.
Milking 80 Holstein Friesian Cows In Co. Tipperary
William and Ann-Marie Condon have embarked on a dairy farming career in recent years. The Condons milk a herd of 80 Holstein Friesian cows, with their three children, close to the village of Lattin in South Tipperary.
The Dairygold suppliers are just back milking since January 2016, after the family farm had been leased out for an extended period.
“My father John had a very bad accident 20-years-ago and the cows had to be sold. I was too young to take on the farm at the time; but always knew that I would come back to it,” William explained.
After finishing school, William spent 10 years working in Lisheen Mines. During this time, the Tipperary-based farmer gained experience by working as a contractor for other farmers.
This work led him back to dairying and he re-established the dairy farm business once the land leases had expired.
It wasn’t the biggest step in the world to take. I had the knowledge of cows from my young days and my parents John and Margaret are still around.
Since taking the plunge and moving back to dairy farming, William is enjoying the change that moving away from shift work and contracting has given him and his family.
“I couldn’t be happier to be back farming. When I was mining, I could go underground in the morning and wouldn’t see daylight for a full week in the wintertime.
“Now, there’s hardly a day that I’m not in the house with the family before 8pm in the evening,” he said.
William admitted that the farm was short on winter accommodation. To address this issue, he applied for grant aid under TAMS II and sought funding for a new seven-bay, 78-cubicle shed.
The shed was finished in November 2016 and the new entrant dairy farmer installed EASYFIX cubicles and EASYFIX Phoenix 25mm foam inter-locking mattresses shortly afterwards.
“I don’t say this lightly, but I genuinely couldn’t be happier with the EASYFIX cubicles,” he explained.
He is delighted with the hygiene and very impressed with the level of cow comfort they provide.
“There was one wet week earlier in the spring this year where we were buffer feeding silage inside after every evening milking.
Not all cows chose to eat the silage, but every last one of them lay down. When I saw that they were keener to lie down in the shed than in the field, I knew EASYFIX Cubicles were the right choice for the job.
William had no problem spending a little extra on the comfort and peace of mind the EASYFIX cubicles gave.
“If you were to lose one cow stuck in a steel cubicle, that would be an awful lot of the difference in price straight away,” he concluded.
When And Where?
William and Ann-Marie Condon are looking forward to welcoming their family, friends and other dairy farmers to the dairy open day at Rathmoyle, Lattin, Co. Tipperary.
Representatives from EASYFIX and Dairypower will be available to discuss options for dairy housing solutions.
The open day will take place on Tuesday, August 15 from 10:30am to 3:00pm.