This focus of output and profit on this farm is stemmed from high grass utilization. Tim Crowley (Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland) sold 422 kgs milk solids/cow to the co-op in 2017 or 1122 kg/ha. The target is to sell 1350 kgs/ha of milk solids from a predominately grazed grass diet.
The herd EBI (Economic Breeding Index- Irelands genetic merit on cows) of this Holstein/Friesian herd is € 113. Calving interval was 367 days in 2017 and the six-week calving rate has hovered around 80 % in the last five years.
Tim is reseeding annually using monocultures from the Pasture Profit Index (an index in Ireland ranking the most profitable grass varieties to use on farms).
- Grass is the key driver to profit on this farm
- Grass measurement is key in day to day decision making on the farm
- Combining diploids and tetraploids in a mixture creates a dense, high quality sward
- Reseeding must be combined with managing grass, and where necessary increasing soil fertility
- Continue to grow as much grass per hectare and produce milk solids and build a reserve of silage for the farm
- Continue to use the EBI to breed a cow that will go in calf every year and produce quality milk solids from grass (suitable for the grass based system).
- Reseed using the top performing varieties from the Pasture Profit Index to maximise grass quality and tonnage. With regular reseeding the grass growth capacity of the farm can be increased substantially and the annual return of investment is large (repaid in 1-2 years)
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