Farm walk will get dairy farmers thinking

Date published: 21 March 2024

Mark Patterson milks 110 dairy cows at Drumcroon Road, Garvagh and is hosting a farm walk on Wednesday 27 March starting at 11:00am.

CAFRE dairying advisers Elizabeth Calvin and David Mackey with Garvagh dairy farmer Mark Patterson examine his crop of rye and vetch.

The herd may be of average size but the way it is managed is far from average. In recent years Mark has moved to a tight block, 12-week, autumn calving pattern with cross-bred cows. Calving takes place from late September to early December to enable optimum use of grazing from April to October. White clover has been established on half the grazing platform to date with plans to include it in all grazing swards as the fertiliser savings are evident.

Winter diets are based on high digestibility 4-cut grass silage harvested with his own silage wagon. Whole-crop cereals are used for both dry cow and milking rations. Mark is particularly fond of winter rye for its low input requirements and is growing it in combination with vetch this year. This winter has seen the replacement of all soya with rapeseed in both blend and parlour nut.

The farm walk has many points of interest for all dairy farmers as they look to improve efficiency to deliver profitable and sustainable milk production. Further details and registration are available on the CAFRE website.

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