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In this edition, we look at drainage solutions, the importance of soils, grass growth, new systems, relief milking, investment and employment in the dairy industry. We chat to farmers from Kerry, Clare, Tyrone, Meath, Cork, Tipperary, Staffordshire and Nottingham.

Black and white pattern for profit: Kerry farmer John O'Sullivan is a strong believer in the Holstein Fresian breed and has been increasing the EBI of his herd for the last five years, with the aim of getting as much grass as possible into the diet to keep feed costs low.

A Keane eye for progress: Donal Keane's Kerry farm has heavy peat soils and is located near Lisselton, just outside Listowel. The wet September and October took their tool, but grazing continued.

Ryan flair: Tipperary farmer TJ Ryan talks about grabbing the opportunity when grazing conditions allow – with all stock out day and night.

The only way is up: because of its elevation, Con Lehane's Cork farm can be cold and wet, which has an effect on its drainage. There were two elements to the drainage plan – the first dealt with open drains at the field perimeter, while the other involved field drains.

Less stress Muir success: a desire to live in the English countryside and starting out as a dairy farmer led to Hames Muir giving up a promising career with a security firm in 2012.

Fresh thinking and new blood: Aidan Brennan visits the Farrell family farm in Kilmessan, Co.Meath, which is undergoing a system change and substantial expansion.

The Clune is in the title: focusing investment on productive assets has led to Clare farmer Francis Clune winning the Munster regional category in the 2017 Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards.

Pastures new: the 30-mile journey from East Midlands Airport in Derby, England, to Halem, Nottingham can best be described as dull and grey. You pass through a monotony of what appear to be soulless, industrial towns. This is middle England. But a change of colour greets you on arrival at the Sharman family farm.

Irish Dairy Farmer magazine – ORDER IT ONLINE HERE for €5.00 incl. P&P

The farmer's daily wrap: Delvin Mart canteen rodent problem and details of EID
Catch up with all the top headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Tonight will become quite windy, with freshening southerly breezes.

It will be predominantly dry, but there will be a few patches of rain and drizzle about.

Minimum temperatures of 5°C to 9°C, according to Met Éireann.

Tuesday will see a dry day in many central and eastern counties.

Rain will extend across most of Munster and Connacht by the afternoon.

Rain will then gradually spread eastwards during the evening, with some heavy bursts possible.

Highest temperatures of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh south to southeast winds.

In the news

  • Problems with rodents have led to the closure of Delvin Mart canteen.
  • Information leaflets on new EID tagging regulations are to be sent out with Sheep and Goat Census forms.
  • Concerns mount as the clock continues to countdown to March 2019, when the UK is expected to have an approved exit plan in place and Theresa May has deferred a Brexit vote in the Commons.
  • Patrick Hurley of Carhoogarriffe, Leap, Co Cork, appeared at Kenmare District Court last week, accused of stealing cash from a 93-year-old Kenmare man.
  • The new assistant principal in Kildalton qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.
    Kildalton appoints new assistant principal
    The new assistant principal qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.

    James Ryan has been appointed as the new assistant principal in Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny.

    Ryan currently lectures in dairy production and manages the 110-cow dairy enterprise on the farm.

    Three of his former students were awarded FBD young farmer of the year and he has previously worked as a Teagasc dairy business and technology adviser in Tipperary and education officer in Skibbereen.

    “I am really looking forward to this new role, as I am passionate about teaching and instilling a love of agriculture, and in particular dairy farming, to students,” Ryan said.

    He was also congratulated in his new appointment by head of Teagasc education Tony Petitt, who said: “James brings to this role a wealth of experience of delivering education courses, both in theory and in terms of practical application on farms. I wish him every success in this post.”

    Ryan takes over as assistant principal from Tim Ashmore, who has been appointed as the education programme's verification specialist in the Teagasc curriculum development and standards unit.

    Read more

    Teagasc appoint new regional advisory manager for the south-east

    Your farm: farming in collaboration

    Rain intensifies as winter sets in – weather report
    After a relatively dry autumn, November has seen above-average rainfall for most of the month.

    Autumn 2018 has been marked by relatively mild and settled weather, according to the most recent quarterly Met Éireann weather report.

    Storms Ali, Callum and Diana brought strong gusts, with wind speeds of up to 115 km/h recorded during Storm Ali at Mace Head, Co Galway on 19 September.

    Strongest gusts

    Ali also recorded the strongest gusts, with 146 km/h recorded in the same place on the same date.

    Storm Ali will also remain in the minds of many farmers as being guilty of cancelling this year’s National Ploughing Championships at short notice, with an additional day added on to satisfy punters.

    Barring stormy weather, farmers enjoyed a relatively mild back-end, after what had been a trying year of difficult weather conditions.

    Many farmers were able to extend their grazing season and the majority of seasonal rainfall was below their long-term averages in September and October.

    However, rainfall was very much dependent on location.

    Just three very wet days were recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in comparison with 17 very wet days in Newport, Co Mayo.

    Overall, the report indicated that rain levels have intensified as winter has set in.

    November saw above-average rainfall for most of the country, with the west and northwest particularly hard hit.

    The last part of November and beginning of December were wet and this is reflected in the rainfall figures.

    Totals for the past two weeks are above normal almost everywhere. They were over twice the average values across the southern half of the country.

    Read more

    Watch and listen: Ploughing blowout – Storm Ali wreaks havoc

    Ireland marked worst in EU on climate action