I farm: “100ha, milking 340 cows in partnership with my father. When I came home full-time after ag college in mid-2017, we took on more rented ground, so all the silage ground is separate to the milking platform.”

Rotary: “The cow numbers were increasing before I came home, but the facilities weren’t. So, we made a plan and did it bit by bit. We said the parlour would be the first thing. We also put in a rotary; we’ve been milking in it since April 2021. It halved the milking time. We were milking for about seven hours a day, and now it’s reduced to about three or three and a half between both milkings.”

Sheds: “We did a cubicle house in 2022 and we finished the calf shed last spring, with a four-station automatic calf-feeder. The last piece of the puzzle will hopefully be a cattle underpass, because the farm is split by a road.”

Calving: “We started on 26 January. We’re at the halfway mark now – we’ve about 170 calved. It’s getting more compact every year. We’ve dairy calves being born up to the end of February and it’s all beef after that. We didn’t use any sexed semen, but I think I’ll use it on the heifers going forward.”

Grazing: “Hopefully, the cows will be out full-time from the start of March, weather dependent. At the moment, they’re on-off grazing.”

Reseeding: “The last couple of years, I’ve aimed to reseed 10% of the farm annually. I got my own mix made up with extra clover in it. Now, 15% of the farm gets no chemical nitrogen for the main grazing period.”

Hugh Massy has his cows on-off grazing by day at Stoneville, Rathkeale, Co Limerick. \ Odhran Ducie

Quotable quote: “I always try to have an optimistic mindset. Sure, if you don’t, what are you at? The year 2023 was one to forget about, between weather and milk price. It’s looking better for 2024, definitely.”