“Measure to manage” on Poyntzpass dairy farm

Adviser Michael Verner discussing feeding management with John Rafferty at the group meeting

A joint meeting of the Newry and Banbridge Business Development Groups was held recently on the farm of Pat and John Rafferty Poyntzpass. The meeting focused on the collection and use of data in dairy herd management. The cows on the farm are milked using 2 Lely robots and fed with an automated diet feeding system – the Lely Vector. This provides a tremendous amount of data on dairy cow intakes, milk yields, cow weights, rumination activity and oestrus behaviour. The use of this data allows continual feeding and management changes to be made to improve feed efficiency. The calves on the farm are also fed calf milk replacer using an automated system in a custom built calf house. Zero grazing commenced on the farm this year in mid-February. It has been used to introduce fresh grass into the milking cow diet as well as the Vector delivered total mixed ration. Overall efficiency of the farm is excellent with over 9,000 litres per cow produced and milk from forage of 3600 litres.

The Business Development Groups listening to John Rafferty outlining his farm management

The BDG scheme is part funded under the EU 2014-2020 NI Rural Development Programme. If you would like to join the BDG scheme Tranche 4 is currently open for new applications and closes at 4pm on 5 March 2019. See the Business Development Groups page on this for more details.

John Rafferty discussing calf management at the BDG event

Pat and John Rafferty with some members of the visiting business development groups

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