Dairy Focus: Milking 46 cows by a 6-unit salon in Co. Mayo

Dairy Focus: Milking 46 cows by a 6-unit salon in Co. MayoDairy Focus: Milking 46 cows by a 6-unit salon in Co. Mayo

Farming usually outward Cong in Co. Mayo, father-and-son group Tim and Tom Clesham run a dairy flock consisting of 46 cows.

The twin have been milking cows given 2013, when Tom done a preference to change systems and buy a used six-unit salon on DoneDeal.

The Clesham family milked cows adult until 1990 when Tim motionless to change systems and start adult a blurb suckler herd, that authorised him to enhance his other business – Ashford Equestrian Centre.

In a years that followed, Tim and Tom began to multiply extraction Limousin cattle alongside a blurb flock of cows.

So, after 23 years, he motionless that a usually approach brazen for a plantation was to go behind milking cows.

He said: “I was apropos a bit sad with a beef diversion and we felt for a work we was putting in, generally when it came to a extraction herd, we wasn’t creation a earnings that we felt we indispensable to make it value my while.

“At a time, when we went behind milking cows, my father was commencement to take a step behind from farming. He still works off-farm a few days a week, so we suspect we have taken over a shortcoming of using a plantation full-time.

“My grandfather and father used to divert cows years ago, so a plantation here was set adult in a approach to go behind doing that and in 2013 we took a possibility and went for it.

I bought a integrate of cows from 3 opposite herds and we also bought a used six-unit salon as well.

“Over a final few years, we have been doing pieces around a place to get a plantation to where we wish it to be and, thankfully, it is removing there.

“I started off milking usually over 20 cows in 2013 and now I’m adult to 46. The devise is to get adult to around 72 cows, that we would be gentle at. However, that would engage adding two-units to a salon and putting in a bigger bulk tank.”

Tom Clesham


Tom and his father Tim run a spring-calving flock that consists especially of British-cross Holstein Friesian cows; however, there are a few Montbéliarde-cross and Jersey-cross cows churned by a flock as well.

The milking platform, that consists of 31 practiced acres, is all in one retard and it is serviced by a new alley that Tom put in not prolonged after he converted behind to milking cows.

This year, he kept 17 heifer calves; however, not all of these will be kept as deputy heifers and introduced to a milking herd. Instead, Tom says he will usually collect off a best and sell a rest of them in-calf.

At present, a tact deteriorate is circuitous down on a Clesham farm. A teaser longhorn is now using with a herd.

Tom carried out all a tact on a farm. All a cows were AI’d, that lasted for 6 weeks. Over a final few years, he has used sexed semen on a heifers. However, according to Tom, it has been a bit ‘hit and miss’.

The wish is that, in a future, he will be means to pierce adult to usually over 70 milking cows.

Upgrading and expanding

As already mentioned, in sequence to get behind milking cows again Tom had to deposit in a series of areas opposite a plantation to make it work.

A used salon and bulk tank had to be purchased, along with upgrading a roadways around a farm, that hadn’t been confirmed all that good during a years when there were suckler cows on a farm.

A vast suit of a plantation has been reseeded as good over a final few years. Last year, 12ac was reseeded and Tom says he has been unequivocally happy with how a paddocks have achieved given then.

The wish is that in a subsequent integrate of weeks that another one or dual tiny paddocks tighten to a salon can be burnt off and reseeded.

‘Striving for a cow that will furnish 500kg of divert solids’

The aim for Tom is to furnish a cow that will strike 500kg of divert solids, something that he was means to grasp final year and something that he hopes to do again this year.

He added: “The cows are behaving well. we am sold about what cows we keep and we would contend that we am despotic when it comes to culling.

“If a cow isn’t producing a products or has a high somatic dungeon count (SCC), she is gone. we achieved good numbers final year and this year has followed a identical adequate pattern.

The cows are removing entrance to good-quality grass. we wouldn’t be vast into weed measuring though in observant that we don’t let them into vast covers of weed possibly – we try to take them [heavy covers] out for bales.

Tom added: “I also have reseeded a good bit of a plantation with a brew of long-lived ryegrass and white clover, that seems to be operative well.

To give we an thought of what a cows are doing, on average, they are producing 24L of divert during 3.43% protein and 4.16% butterfat.

“Furthermore, around rise time, in May, they were doing about 27L, on average. It’s value observant that they were usually on 1.5kg of concentrates during that time.

“I’m feeding them 3kg of nuts these days. Overall, we am unequivocally happy. During a dry spell we was propitious in that we had copiousness of weed and we wasn’t unequivocally influenced as badly as other people were.

“I didn’t have to feed silage, though we was feeding adult to 6kg of concentrates during that time.”

‘Milk recording is a must’

On a subject of divert recording and a incoming anathema on a sweeping use of antibiotics during dry off in 2022, Tom pronounced that divert recording is ‘a must’ and that he skeleton to take his initial stairs towards resourceful dry cow therapy this entrance year.

He explained: “I have a low SCC, about 43,000 cells/ml, on normal and a lot of that is down to divert recording and being despotic when it comes to culling ‘problem cows’.

Milk recording is a must. we have had dual already this year and we devise on carrying another dual before dry off.

“I am concerned to do one usually before drying off, so that we have an thought of what cows we will be means to lift out resourceful dry therapy on and what cows will need antibiotics.

“At a moment, we have no cows that have a ridiculously high SCC, though it’s critical to keep on tip of it and lift out divert recording as most as possible.”

He explained: “I won an endowment final year from Animal Health Ireland in comment of my flock carrying a low SCC, so we wish to keep it that way.

I devise to lift out resourceful dry cow therapy on cows that have an SCC of reduction than 70,000 cells/ml. However, we am usually going to try it out on a few cows.

“I wish to exam it initial and see can we exercise it correctly. The final thing we wish to do is disaster it adult and finish adult carrying a vast suit of a flock picking adult infections.

“I am unequivocally unwavering about gripping a sheds purify over a winter, during a dry period, and I’ll be even some-more sold once we start implementing a resourceful dry cow plan.

“I frequently orange a cubicles. we frame a cows morning and dusk when they come into a salon and make certain they are purify before putting on a clusters. we usually do a elementary things right and, thankfully, it seems to be working.

“You have to be on your toes since cows that have a high SCC cost we money.”

Increasing cow numbers when a right event presents itself

Tom is penetrating to boost cow numbers as already mentioned. He has no problem in expanding his six-unit salon to eight-units when a time arrives or putting in a new bulk tank.

The problem is how he is going to go about augmenting cow numbers. The dual options he has looked during are holding on some-more land if it came accessible tighten by or not gripping any batch other than milking cows on a plantation and shopping in freshly-calved cows.

Tom added: “My internal confidant and we have sat down and discussed what my options are for me to enhance to 72 cows, that would proportion to 9 rows of cows in a salon – that would be ideal.

“I have a low stocking rate, so we can hoop a additional cows, though we won’t be means to reason dry batch if we do go adult in cow numbers.

“I don’t see myself removing a rancher to agreement back my heifer calves since we consider it’s a bit too costly to do so as of now; we can usually consider of possibly holding on some-more land or shopping in cows that have calved down.”

He added: “The worry about shopping in cows is a unknown. You don’t know what your bringing into a farm. Ideally, if we was to go down that route, we would try and build a attribute with a rancher and try and buy cows off that same plantation each year.

“But, where do we start and how do we go about doing that? we ‘d be disturbed about bringing cows in that would have a high SCC.

I can tell we for certain we won’t be rushing into anything. I’ll import adult my options and go from there. I’m not going to burst from a 46 cows  we have to 72 cows within a space of a year, it will be over a few years.

“I started from scratch, basically, in 2013 so we don’t mind carrying to wait a bit longer before we strech my extent in terms of cow numbers.”

Article source: https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/dairy-focus-milking-46-cows-through-a-6-unit-parlour-in-co-mayo/

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