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19 Aug 2022

Gold medal winning Limerick farmers host open day

Gold medal winning Limerick farmers host open day

Michael, Mary Ita and Alex McCarthy with Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington / Picture: O'Gorman Photography

MICHAEL, Mary Ita and Alex McCarthy are farming at Kilmurry, Feenagh.

Last year, they won the prestigious National Dairy Council (NDC)/Kerrygold milk quality award ensuring that the Liam MacCarthy wasn’t the only cup coming to Limerick in 2021. Next Wednesday, June 15, Teagasc, in conjunction with Kerry Agribusiness the NDC and Ornua, will be hosting a farm walk on McCarthy’s farm.

It is a great opportunity to see a top class family farm. Presently the farm is around 104 ha milking around 170 cows plus followers with an overall stocking rate of 2.2 lu/ha. The herd is high EBI Holstein Friesian and with an EBI of €176 it is well above the national average.

Recently there has been a strong focus on breeding for kilograms of milk solids and improved fertility while having a maintenance sub index of around €10. Additional cubicle and slurry storage were built recently along with new silage bases. Last winter the milking parlour was upgraded from 16 to 22 units along with variable speed milk and vacuum pumps and a solenoid on the plate cooler.

There is a strong focus on grassland management with Alex having recorded 46 covers on pasture base in 2021 and the farm grew 16.5 tonnes of dry matter per hectare on average. Emphasis on soil fertility has paid off with this high yield of grass dry matter. Excellent grazing infrastructure mean that this grass can be well utilised. More recently clover has been incorporated into pastures on the farm with the aim of reducing chemical nitrogen during the summer months.

Routines for milking and washing procedures are well established on McCarthy’s farm and contributed greatly to them winning this milk quality award. Last year 559 kg of milk solids were delivered with a TBC of 4 and an SCC of 108.

This farm walk will focus on producing milk of high quality with a strong focus on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. The event starts at 1.30pm. The eircode for the farm is V35 RF70. All are welcome.

Eoin Horgan is a B & T Dairy Adviser with Teagasc in Limerick

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