Lakeland Agri - Technical News - Jan/February, 2019

Lakeland Agri - Technical News - Jan/February, 2019

Read the January/February 2019 issue of the Lakeland Agri - Technical News newsletter. Click on the button below to download.

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Lakeland Agri - Technical News Nov/Dec, 2018

Lakeland Agri - Technical News Nov/Dec, 2018

Read the November/December 2018 issue of the Lakeland Agri - Technical News newsletter. Select from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland download options below.

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New Loyalty Programme

New Loyalty Programme

Lakeland Agri have introduced a new loyalty programme to reward the loyalty of milk suppliers. To read full details click on the button below.

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Photos from the National Ploughing Championships 2015

Photos from the National Ploughing Championships 2015

Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness making a delivery of high quality feed to the Lely stand for the herd of Michael and Eamon Coyle at the National Ploughing Championships 2015.

Lakeland Dairies collecting milk from the Lely stand at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.

Virginia Show 2015

Virginia Show 2015

Pictured: Martin Sexton, Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness , presenting Tom Kelly with trophy for the Champion Dairy Cow at the Virginia Show 2015.  Also pictured, Jack Mennis , Navan, Co. Meath.

Pictured: Alan Hurst, Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness, discussing winter feeding options with John Smith, Longfield, Virginia, Co. Cavan.

Pictured: Sinead Brady, Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness, discussing elements of the  Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain programme with Anthony Leddy , Belturbet, Co. Cavan.

Structures for expansion farm walk

Structures for expansion farm walk

To help address some of the key issues facing milk suppliers considering expansion, the Lakeland Dairies/Teagasc joint programme team have organised a structures for expansion farm walk.

The walk will take place on the farm of David Hannon, Derrypatrick, Drumree, Co Meath.

Time: 11.00am, Wednesday 26th August

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Lely presentation to Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness

Lely presentation to Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness

Pictured: Niall Mc Gauran from Lely centre, Mullingar presenting Sinead Brady and Alan Hurst with their official Lely certificates following successful completion of the Lely Farm Management Support course in April.

Both Alan and Sinead are available to assist feed customers with interpretation of data and modification of settings on their Lely robotic milking machines.

For more information, contact your Lakeland Dairies Feed Sales Representative or call the Farm Services Centre on 1890 47 47 20.    

Breffni Oriel Herds Competition 2015

Breffni Oriel Herds Competition 2015

Pictured at the Breffni Oriel Herds competition awards night which was held on 19th June were Michael Hanley, Chief Executive, Lakeland Dairies; Graeme and John Taylor, Cloonboygher, Co. Leitrim (Overall winners) and Alo Duffy, Chairman, Lakeland Dairies. 

Lakeland Dairies Suppliers Embrace SoilSmart Programme

Lakeland Dairies Suppliers Embrace SoilSmart Programme

Lakeland Dairies recently held three well attended SoilSmart demos which were kindly hosted by Clive Reed, Mullagarry, Castleshane, Co. Monaghan, Raymond Scott, Caughoo, Co. Cavan and Jimmy Maloney, Redmondstown, Castlegeoghan, Co. Westmeath.

Clive Reed is a supplier to Lakeland Dairies and the family have a pedigree herd of 80 Holstein Friesian Cows. Average yield is an impressive 8,000 litres/cow and Clive is a member of the Breffni Oriel IHFA club. This farm is one of three monitor farms across the Lakeland Dairies catchment area that embarked on a soil improvement programme in 2013. 

Speakers at the soil improvement workshops included Alan Hurst, Technical Manager with Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness, Enda Duffy from the Lakeland Dairies Dairy Development programme and Dr. David Atherton from Thomson and Joseph in Britain. 

According to Alan, “Our most efficient grassland farmers are growing and utilising in excess of 12 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, yet our national average for the utilisation of grass is approximately 7 tonnes dry matter / hectare. Through the soil improvement programme, our primary objective is to grow and utilise more grass which in turn will reduce concentrate feed usage and lead to a higher level of efficiency and profitability being achieved at farm level”. 

In SoilSmart, (part of the Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain programme* )  Alan says, “we are taking a more detailed look at the chemical, physical and biological properties of soils and introducing practices such as the physical aeration of soils and the treatment of slurry to increase the production potential of our soils. On our monitor farms we are also mapping progress over time by measuring a number of key performance indicators which include grass utilised in tonnes per hectare, Kgs solids produced per hectare, milk from forage and grazing season length.“

Enda Duffy told the farmers present that they had analysed almost 6,000 soil samples through the Lakeland Dairies soil sampling initiative. Enda presented the findings from the initiative and illustrated how farmers could make better use of slurry and bagged fertiliser. He also made the point that less than 20% of soils sampled had an optimum pH which meant that 80 % of the soils sampled needed lime in order to maximise the response from bagged fertiliser. 

Speaking at the SoilSmart demos, Dr. David Atherton said, “Approx. 70% of grassland farms in Britain have some level of soil compaction which can reduce grass yields by up to 40%. Compacted soils take longer to warm up in the springtime, which means grass growth is delayed and these compacted soils also hold more surface water. He also highlighted the importance of the correct Calcium: Magnesium ratio in the soil which is required to maintain a good soil structure.”

Dr.  Atherton discussed the benefit of soil aeration and composting slurry so as to improve grassland production and reduce fertiliser costs. He also spoke on the importance of earthworm activity in the soil and the use of it as an indicator of the overall biological health of the soils.  He said that soil improvement is something that needs to be worked on continuously rather than assuming that a significant shift can be achieved in a short period of time.

On the Reed farm, soil compaction was initially identified as a problem and for that reason the land has been aerated several times with a McKenna aerator which is manufactured in Northern Ireland. It has 76 seven inch shark fin blades and the contractor charge is around €50 per hour or approx. €5/acre. Clive and his father Sam who is still active on the farm are delighted with the results of the SoilSmart programme.

According to Clive, “We are growing more grass which means we’re spending less on concentrates and we’re getting a much better response from expensive fertilisers. This year we intend increasing our stocking rate and all going well we should be able to carry an additional 10 to 15 cows on the grazing platform”. 

Another innovation has been the addition of the biological digesting agent “Digest It” to the slurry which significantly reduces the ammonia in the slurry (a lot less smell says Clive) and is kinder to earthworms (coming back bigtime says Clive) and soil life. Composting slurry will increase the available Nitrogen by approximately 33% and also increases the available phosphorus and potassium levels in the slurry which means it pays for itself. 

“Another benefit of adding Digst It to the tank is that it reduces crusting on the surface and makes the slurry easier to mix and spread”, said Clive. There is a faster response to the slurry spread which means grazing can take place after 14 days if conditions are ideal. The Digest –IT liquid composting agent only costs around €2/cow per month so it is very cost effective.

The workshop included a number of digs in various fields to look at the structure, smell and colour of the soils on the Reed farm. There was a lot of interaction and relevant questions from the farmers present which indicated a lot of interest in the topic of soil improvement.

Alan Hurst on behalf of Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness wrapped up proceedings by thanking the Reed family for hosting the event and David Atherton for his technical presentation. Alan also suggested that all interested farmers should talk to their Lakeland Dairies Feed representative to find out more about the soil improvement programme or any of the other components of the Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain programme for that matter.

For more information on this exciting and innovative new system , please talk to your local Lakeland Dairies Feed Representative or contact the Lakeland Farm Services centre on 1890 47 47 20 (ROI) or 028 302 62311 ( NI).

Soil Improvement: Nutrient management workshops scheduled for March

Soil Improvement: Nutrient management workshops scheduled for March

In an effort to grow more grass and promote a more efficient use of slurry and bagged fertiliser on our farms, Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness in conjunction with the Lakeland Dairy Development programme will be holding a number of workshops across the Lakeland Dairies catchment area in the month of March.

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Soil sampling initiative - Key findings to date 
  • Correct interpretation of soil analysis reports
  • Identification of fields that will benefit most from slurry applications
  • The effect of physical, chemical and biological properties on the productivity of soils and measures that can be introduced to overcome challenges that exist

 Guest speaker: David Atherton, Thomson and Joseph

The dates and venues for the workshops are as follows:

Tuesday 10th March: Clive Reed, Mullagarry, Castleshane, Co. Monaghan.

Wednesday 11th March: Raymond Scott, Caughoo, Cavan, Co. Cavan.

Thursday 12th March: Jimmy Maloney, Redmonstown, Castletowngeoghegan, Co. Westmeath.

All events will start at 11 AM.

For more information, please contact Adrian Mc Keague on 087 4138584, Enda Duffy on 087 6647022 or Alan Hurst on 087 2901663.

Great Interest Expressed at recent Soil Improvement Workshop

Great Interest Expressed at recent Soil Improvement Workshop

Raymond Scott is a milk supplier to Lakeland Dairies and farms at Caughoo near Ballinagh, Co. Cavan. The Scott farm is one of three monitor farms across the Lakeland Dairies catchment area that embarked on a soil improvement programme in 2013. 

To share the valuable information becoming available from these monitor farms, Lakeland Dairies recently hosted a well-attended workshop on the Scott farm. Alan Hurst, Technical manager with Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness kicked off proceedings by giving some background information on the farm and outlined the important role that growing and utilising more grass will play in maximising farm efficiencies and profitability going forward. 

David Atherton from Thomson and Joseph, who was the guest speaker at the event, gave a very interesting and informative presentation detailing the importance of having the correct physical, chemical and biological properties present in soils when trying to maximise the productivity of grassland. The workshop included a number of digs in various fields to look at structure, smell and colour of the soils on the Scott farm. There was a lot of interaction and relevant questions from the farmers present which indicated a lot of interest in the topic of soil improvement.

According to David Atherton “the good news is that soils have huge reserves of nitrogen and phosphorus so we must do all we can to ensure these reserves are being released.” He showed farmers the type of detailed chemical analysis that is available from Thomson and Joseph and advised on how correct interpretation of this data can be used to determine the correct course of action for problematic ground. In particular, he highlighted the relevance of the Calcium: Magnesium ratio in the soil which is required to maintain soil structure.

In addition he discussed the importance of earthworm activity in the soil and the use of it as an indicator of the overall biological health of the soils. David talked about the benefits of treating slurry with a biological digesting agent such as “Digest It” which significantly reduces the ammonia level in the slurry and makes it kinder to earthworms and soil life, but also has the advantage of increasing the total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels in the slurry.

He said that soil improvement is something that needs to be worked on continuously rather than assuming that a significant shift can be achieved in a short period of time.

Farmers present also had the opportunity to view a Mc Kenna soil aerator which was kindly demonstrated by Winston Bennett of Ballinagh. 

Alan Hurst on behalf of Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness wrapped up proceedings by thanking the Scott family for hosting the event and David Atherton for his technical presentation. Alan also suggested that all interested farmers should talk to their Lakeland Dairies Feed representative to find out more about the soil improvement programme or any of the other components of the new Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain Programme for that matter.

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Open Day 2014

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Open Day 2014

Picture: Donal Igoe (left) and Pat Shiels (right) Lakeland Dairies, with Greg Doris, Ballinalee, Co. Longford.

The IHFA National Open Day was held on the 9th July on the Taylor family farm “Cloonboygher”, Newtowngore, Co. Leitrim. The first occasion it was held in Co. Leitrim.

A large crowd well in excess of 2,000 were in attendance with dairy farmers travelling from every corner of the country, Northern Ireland and Britain.

The general crowd were awe struck at the beautiful setting and general neat layout of paddocks, farm roadways and the yard which looked splendid in blazing sunshine from the top of the hill. As the crowd made their way from the car park this impressive & scenic setting immediately made a lasting impression and set the tone for a tremendously enjoyable visit.

Charles Gallagher, Chief Executive and Tom Murphy, President of IHFA welcomed everyone to the Open day. The official opening was performed by Michael Hanley, CEO of Lakeland Dairies who emphasized their commitment to Dairy expansion in the area. 

Main sponsors on the day were Lakeland Dairies who sponsored the Interclub stock judging, Greenvale who sponsored the National Herds Competition, FBD Insurance who sponsored The Gold & Diamond awards and Volac who sponsored YMA. Agri Aware generously supplied prize packs to the U12’s.

The herd was established as a Pedigree Registered herd in the early seventies by John’s parents Harold and Betty. There are 5 generations of the family associated with farming the land at Cloonboygher.  Shorthorns were the original choice, but that all changed three generations ago when Friesians were introduced in the 1970’s by Harold & Betty with the purchase of 12 British Friesian heifers from a farm in Co. Meath.  

Over the years the Cloonboygher herd has progressed and through the 80’s and 90’s different cow families were added to increase the genetic pool within the herd. Since 2000 they have relied on their own replacements and breeding strategy to keep improving the herd and at the same time maintaining almost a fully closed herd and with the exception of 3 animals the 240+ cattle on farm are all homebred. 

Herd average for 2013 in 305 days was 8,611kg (1840 gallons) @ 3.77 % Fat & 3.34 % Protein, a total of 612kg Milk Solids per cow. The bulls chosen for breeding the future cow in the Cloonboygher herd are selected to continue improvements in milk solids and improve functional type. The aim being to breed a medium sized cow, suitable to the heavy land, with 5 equally important traits, good production of high solids milk, good feet & legs, well attached udders, good fertility and longevity. 85% of the milking herd is classified in the top two grades thus indicating the success of the breeding policy so far. Classifications currently are 30 EX, 52 VG & 23 GP. 

The Taylor family were very thankful to all who helped make the day such a wonderful success.They thanked Charles Gallagher, CE and all the staff in IHFA for their help and efforts in the organization and planning of this event.  They also thanked the sponsors, caterers, cow leaders and especially the West Midlands and Breffni Oriel Clubs...