I farm: “Full-time with my wife Margaret on about 400ac of land, half of which is owned and the other half is rented. We have three kids, Orla, who is a radiographer, Conor who did microbiology and Brian who is doing ag science in UCD. We also have a student from Moorepark helping us.”

Cows: “We have over 200 cows and in recent years we’ve gone more towards Holsteins as we find there’s a better market for the calves. Last year they did 535kg milk solids, 4.7% fat and 3.76% protein with 700kg meal on average.”

Breeding: “We do AI for six weeks and then mop up with two Hereford bulls. All the heifers got sexed semen and this is our third year to do it and it’s working pretty well. The first year we had a 37% conception rate and the last two years it’s been 60% to 70%. About 30 cows get sexed semen too but the majority get beef straws. Any second or third time calvers get Hereford straws and the rest then get Limousin, Charolais, Belgian Blue or Speckle Park. We aim to start bulling the 2021-born heifers from 25 April.”

Calving: “We have 68 heifers to calve and in the last 24 hours we’ve had 13 heifers calved and 13 heifer calves. They’re about two weeks early but it gives us a chance to get them used to the parlour before the cows start.”

Drying off: “We’re drying off cows at the moment; because the milk price was so good, we stayed milking 32 empties through the winter.”

Clover:”We’ve significantly reduced the fertiliser on the milking platform. About a third of the farm was on zero chemical nitrogen, but it was getting slurry. It was a very high clover sward, both red and white clover. It takes a bit of management but we’re happy with the results.”

Quotable quote: “The environment is going to be the only show in town. We can’t be afraid to change.”