April 26 – May 30, 2024


A West Cork Farming Life: Damien O’Brien, Creaghbeg, Lisavaird Describe your farm?

ers as we use a fixed time AI programme on them. For the last five or six years we have been using sexed semen straws on them. It’s worked very well so far and we’ve had great rates and got our heifer calves from those. After one round of AI, an Angus stock bull will go with them to tidy up. The bull is a new to our system, it used to be all AI, but this will ease the workload. Watching the cows at breeding time can take up a lot of time. We’ll probably be cutting silage in early May and a bit of reseeding too, there’s six acres to be done. You’re very interested in the pedigree breeding…could you tell us more about it? We run a pedigree Holstein Friesian herd and our herd’s name or prefix is the Lisavaird Herd. My family has always had a keen interest in cattle breeding. We’re using AI with about 70 years or more so there’s a lot of interest. We’re not into the showing side of it so much but would be more

interested in the production side of it. We’d be breeding for good legs and feet to reduce lameness issues, good udders and milk volume related to milk produc- tion and chest width too. That’s so they can take in more feed. After that, its health in order to reduce mastitis and somatic cell count. We’d use a team of six or seven AI bulls every year, most- ly they would have been north American bulls, Canadian, and Dutch bulls. How did you manage with this spring? The plans kept changing. It was a difficult managing grass and slurry. When the rain wasn’t as bad, we grazed some of the wet- test paddocks, as you might not get a chance again for a while. It wasn’t ideal but we were back fencing to limit damage and, even with that, there was still damage, especially when cows started bulling as they tend to walk more then. But getting them out filled their bellies and took pressure off the slurry too. We were saving the dry pad-

docks for wet days and picking a few hours grazing here and there. Usually, the cows are at grass by day from the middle of February once they’ve calved, but this year it was 20 March and only when weather allowed. Cows have been out by night since Wednesday, April 17, that’s nearly two months behind where they’d usually be. We had a good supply of silage so fodder wasn’t an issue but managing slurry was more of a challenge. It’s still a problem. Anywhere there’s a spring in a paddock, it’s easier to stay out of rather than get stuck. We’d do with the weather warming up. Carbery gave a 5c/l weather top up on their March milk price and that was very wel- come but it’s wanted. The bills are way higher because there’s a lot more ration fed and some farmers had to buy in fodder and straw too so it was an expensive time.

L isavaird Co-Op has announced a signifi - cant rebate program to support its customers, which is in addition to the Carbery Group’s announcement of a 5 cpl increase on all March milk volumes. Carbery Chairman, Cor- mac O’Keefe, who is also the Lisavaird Co-Op Chairman announced the €3m Car- bery weather support fund at the recent board meeting of Carbery Group. Lisavaird’s rebate program, coupled with Carbery’s increased support to milk suppliers, aims to provide financial relief to farmers who have been adversely affected by adverse weather conditions in West Cork. Lisavaird Co-Op has taken proactive steps to further sup- port its farmers by approving a rebate of €15 per tonne on all ruminant compound feed purchases made during March and April. This initiative is a testament to Lisavaird’s com- mitment to standing alongside its customers during times of hardship and uncertainty. Lisavaird Co-Op CEO Martin I farm in partnership with my parents, Kevin and Geraldine, near Lisavaird. We’re milking 105 cows in a spring milk sys- tem supplying Lisavaird co-op. We’re farming 130 acres in total. About 30 acres are rented and the rest is owned. The ground is all around the yard and there’s only 10 acres we can’t get cows to. We’re up a long lane so we’ve no public road to cross so that’s handy. What’s going on at the mo- ment? We’re preparing for the breed- ing season at the start of May. We do a pre-breeding scan of the cows. That’s to make sure all the cows are right for breed- ing, that they’re cycling and there’s no cysts. If a cow misses three or six weeks it could be expensive in terms of next spring and milk production. You want them all coming on close enough, especially in a spring system. We’re calving 86 per cent in six weeks and we’d like to hold it at that. We synchronise the heif-

Damien O’Brien and his father Kevin on their farm near Lisavaird.

Lisavaird Co-Op announces €15 rebate on ration purchases to support farmers amid adverse weather conditions

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Dineen emphasised the impor- tance of solidarity and support within the farming community, stating, “During times of adver- sity, it is crucial that we come together to support one another. Lisavaird Co-Op is proud to stand alongside our farmers, and we hope that this rebate program provides some relief during these challenging times.” Carbery Chairman and Chair of Lisavaird Co-Op’s Board, Cormac O’Keeffe echoed this sentiment, highlighting the co- operative’s commitment to sup- porting farmers in West Cork. “We recognise the significant

challenges facing farmers due to adverse weather conditions, and we are committed to providing practical support wherever possible,” he stated. In addition to the rebate program, Lisavaird Co-Op has been actively involved in other relief efforts, including connecting farmers in need of silage with neighbouring farms holding surplus fodder and utilising the newly announced fodder transport scheme to top up any farm’s having trouble sourcing fodder.

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Lisavaird Co-Op CEO Martin Dineen

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