Jerry Keohane farms with his family at Ballintemple, Clonakilty, Co Cork. This particular part of Cork is cow country. Almost every farm has dairy cows and every corner of land is utilised and has the ability to grow lots of grass. It is also close to Clonakilty Bay, and the Keohanes have allowed their farm to be part of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) monitoring to measure runoff and how to prevent any environmental issues.
The total area farmed is 28ha in three different land blocks. Some of the outblocks are cut for quality silage bales, sometimes maybe four to five times a year. A local contractor makes the bales but they cut, ted and draw the bales themselves.
Herd EBI is very good at €170 and average herd yield is about 5,550 litres
The Keohanes keep all replacements and beef to one year old. All-AI is used on the farm and no stock bulls have been on the farm for the last 30 years. AI Friesian is used on the cows for three weeks and then Angus and Hereford AI sires are used. Herd EBI is very good at €170 and average herd yield is about 5,550 litres producing about 445kg of milk solids on 600kg of meal and grazed grass from the 19ha available to the cows.
The environment is high on the agenda on this farm, similar to many of the finalists. About 80% of the nitrogen used this year was protected urea. Slurry is spread by contractor who has a trailing shoe. Hedges are maintained, trees planted and no hedges are sprayed. Rainwater is collected and no topping of grass takes place to again reduce energy usage. Jerry is part of a monitor group of farmers to protect Clonakilty Bay. Pastures are a mix of grass and clover and Jerry measures and uses weekly measurement to optimise grass growth and usage.
One of the issues on cell count that Jerry feels helps a lot to flag an issue early are the inline filters on each milking unit
Milk total bacterial counts (TBC) are exceptional, with the annual weighted average at 4 and average weighted somatic cell count (SCC) at 37 cells/ml with the highest monthly average at 68 in November 2019. One of the issues on cell count that Jerry feels helps a lot to flag an issue early are the inline filters on each milking unit which collects and shows the milker any clots if cows start to show any signs of mastitis.
There are six CellCheck 500 awards on the wall outside the dairy and it’s no surprise.