The farm: “We milk 70 cows on 70ac in Castleshane, Co Monaghan. We returned to dairying in 2019, having had a suckler herd for many years. We milk all year round, with 10 cows left to calve. We keep 20 replacement heifers each year and all other calves are sold.”

Cow type: “We keep mainly Jersey crosses, with some Ayrshire also. The crossbred cows are great for our system, hardy cows with a good balance of solids and yield. Cows are milking really well at the moment, averaging 27kg of milk at 4.2 protein and 3.5 fat. The herd is young, with not many cows in their fourth lactation yet, so we’re very happy with production.”

Family: “On the farm, there’s my parents, John and Anne, my sister Marie Louise, brothers Kevin and Jack, and myself. I have just finished my last year in Ag Science in UCD. Alongside the cows, my dad also works a few days a week off-farm. Everyone else helps out on the farm when they can.”

Robot milking: “The Lely A5 robot suits our farm brilliantly. We can keep an eye on every cow’s production, and the collars give us a head start on any health issues also.”

Growth: “Growth has been fairly slow, so hopefully some heat will come soon to boost it. With the robotic ABC grazing system, allocations are extremely important, and we measure grass regularly to make sure we keep an eye on grass levels in each of the three blocks.”

Breeding: “We use 100% AI here, and started breeding on 26 April. Half of the cows and 75% of heifers have been inseminated so far, which we are very happy with. The heat detection function on the cows’ collars is a fantastic tool. We’ll inseminate enough cows to try have 20 replacement heifers and change to beef straws then.”

This week: “Once the weather takes up, we’ll be out with fertiliser for recently grazed paddocks. Heat checks on heifers will continue and we’ll be weaning the calves. We also hope to get to reseed 4ac this weekend, if the weather allows.”