Gerald Murphy

7 March 1997

Gerald Murphy

Gerald Murphy runs a 107ha (275-acre) farm in partner-ship 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 maize and cereals for home.

IN MY last column I wrote about new farm roadways we have been laying but I didnt have a final figure for the cost a metre. The final cost was £4.50/metre for 5m wide tracks.

The milkers have now been out to grass for the past three weeks, but it is only in the past week that they have really started to graze hard. They are now on the silage area on the main farm and they should be finished there on Mar 10. This area will then receive its first split N in urea form and be closed on this date. The first split will be 46 units/acre. We would hope to apply the second split between Apr 5 and 10.

We are after starting three-times-a-day milking in an attempt to make up what looks like being a 2% shortfall in projected milk production. It looks as though my projections were too ambitious and also the February calvers were slow to calve down, carrying a good bit of time and then were slow to get into their milk.

With more than a third of the cows presently milking being February calvers, their performance is having a big impact on production. If the response to three-times-a-day milking is similar to that which was experienced by some local farmers who have tried it in similar circumstances the shortfall should be clawed back.

After talking to a friend who milked three-times-a-day to make up a shortfall a couple of years ago, we decided to take on a relief milker to do the night milkings. He did the night milking himself and he described three-times-a-day milking as being very effective at two things: The first is increased milk production and the second is the worlds best contraceptive. "Youll be knackered," he said.n

Gerald Murphys milkers have been out at grass for the last three weeks, but have only started to graze hard within the last week on the silage area.

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