To become a technology demonstration farm applicants must be able to demonstrate the following innovative technologies:
- Soil nutrient management programme
- Efficient grazing infrastructure
- Grass cover measurement and budgeting
- Adjusting concentrate feed levels (Maintenance+) according to grazing conditions and grass supply
- Targeted complete diet feeding or Targeted in parlour and/or out of parlour concentrate feeding (either manual or computerised)
It is also desirable but not required that applicants can demonstrate the following innovative technologies:
- Grazing area allocation application
- Proactive reseeding policy
- Using Maintenance+ application (can apply to both easy feed and TMR systems)
- Forage stocks calculator
- Margin over concentrates (MOC) application.
For a more detailed description of these required and desirable technologies and for guidance click HERE.
Two farms have been recruited to demonstrate the feed efficiency theme:
Feed Efficiency Farm 1 – Aidan McManus Enniskillen, Co. Farmanagh.
The McManus family run a herd of 120 cows and rear all replacements. Cows are managed on a total confinement basis and are milked through two Lely A4 robots. The herd is TMR fed with additional concentrates required for feed to yield being topped up in the A4 milking robots. The cows are zero grazed during the grazing season.
Feed Efficiency Farm 2 – Stephen Gibson Hillsborough, Co. Down.
In 2012 a management decision was taken to change enterprise from beef to dairying. Currently the Gibson family run a herd of 105 cows managed by Stephen and his father. The majority of the herd calve in autumn/winter and are TMR fed, with additional concentrates being topped up in the parlour. The aim during the grazing season is to maximise milk from grass.