Gerald Murphy

7 February 1997

Gerald Murphy

Gerald Murphy runs a 107ha (275-acre) farm inpartnership with his parents in County Waterford on the south-east coast of Ireland. Dairying is the main enterprise with emphasis on milk from grass. The mainly all-grass unit carries 110 Holstein Friesian cows and also grows forage maizeand cereals for home consumption.

ITS BEEN a very busy start to the new year. We have been able to secure a seven-year lease on 195,000 litres and 36.8ha. The land is 22.5km from our home unit which excludes it from use as grazing area for milking cows.

Instead we intend to use it as a rearing unit for youngstock, but for the first two years we will not have enough stock to fill this area and so we intend to sow half of it down to cereals; spring wheat is planned for this year.

We have also been extending and improving our farm roadways in the past month – between 1000 and 1100m of roadway was laid from scratch or improved.

Of the 750m of new road laid, 350m is to a group of paddocks previously used for grazing youngstock. Because of increased cow numbers, this is now needed as grazing area for cows.

The remaining 400m of new road is on an out-farm, and its main purpose is to give better access for machinery in wet conditions.

The improved sections – 350m – had deteriorated badly in the past few years and needed virtually as much work as the new roads.

So far the roads have cost about £2.70/m for 4-5m wide road. This is for clearance and laying in hardcore. The stone for the roads comes from our own quarry which is certainly a big saving on having to buy in hardcore.

And theyre much less complicated than some I have been reading about in FW recently. We simply skin off the sod, lay in, and level off 45-60cm of hardcore on top – depending on the situation – on top of which we lay a 5cm screen of quarry dust. These roadways are cheap and simple, and we have found that they are perfectly OK from an animal welfare point of view.

While most of the UK was still in the grip of the big freeze, a thaw had set in this part of the world. Our consultant convinced us to spread some N, the first of which went out on Jan 10. All of the grass area has now received 40 units N/acre. Thankfully the man in the suit seems to have been right and we have had a good response. We are hoping to turn the fresh calvers out on Feb 23 onto the driest paddocks.n

Gerald Murphys farm roadways have been renovated and extended, with 750m of new road being layed and 350m renovated.

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