The Dairy Edge show

The Dairy Edge

Summary: The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey with the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.

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 Ed Payne and achieving high levels of grass utilisation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:17:41

Ed Payne and achieving high levels of grass utilisation

 The common mistakes and what's needed for successful farm partnerships | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:25:02

Teagasc’s Farm Business Specialist Tom Curran joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss the various collaborative farming structures operating in Ireland. Tom gives examples of case studies of farm structures including as partnerships, cow leasing and contract rearing identifying important criteria to consider and typical costings per animal. Tom also explains the considerable benefits these structures can offer to farm business such as improved lifestyle, ability to build cow numbers and increasing profitability. For more information

 The opportunities and benefits of collaborative farming | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:00
 Management through this secondary drought | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:18:11

A secondary drought has hit the east and south of the country and on this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, Grass10 campaign manager, John Maher, explains best management of this drought. Where growth rates are low at 20-40 kg farmers must maintain a 30 day grazing rotation, using supplementary feed to fill the gap in the cows diet. John explains that there is still Nitrogen in the ground but there is value in spreading Nitrogen between now and the extended closing deadlines. Where growth is normal, John advices to follow the standard recommended autumn grazing guidelines  - farm cover/cow of 300 kg by the end of August and continue to build cover into September in order to extend grazing. For farms growing in excess of 100 kg, farmers should take advantage of the opportunity of making surplus silage as well as building autumn grass. For more information

 Insights and tips from New Zealand in dealing with summer drought conditions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:18:05

Andre van Barneveld of Graise Consultancy, draws on his experience of dealing with frequent summer droughts in New Zealand and has some key lessons that Irish farmers can learn from the summer of 2018. "Irish farmers should not have a kneejerk reaction," van Barneveld cautions. "But they should be a lot more pro-active, especially when it comes to problem cows." Andre explains the importance of identifying ‘passenger cows’ who should leave the herd ASAP. Where grass production is restricted, these cows are being fed solely from supplement feed. Andres emphases the importance of calculating the winter feed requirements of your whole herd, including young stock. In order to reduce winter requirements, farmers should maximise grass production late summer/autumn grazing period. For more from Andre:

 Identifying the best and worst cows in your dairy herd | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:20:59

On this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, ICBF Geneticist Dr Margaret Kelleher gives the top tips on identifying the best and worst cows in your dairy herd. Firstly, Margaret explains what the Cows Own Worth (COW) index is, what information contributes to each cow's COW value and how the COW index differs from the EBI. Briefly, the COW index is for selecting the best cows for retention in the herd and the worst cows for culling, while the EBI is used for breeding. Furthermore, Margaret explains why a cow would be ranked best and worst for a herd. Traits that would rank a cow best is early calving, good milk solids production, high EBI and low SCC compared to contemporaries in the herd. Margaret emphasises inputting insemination records, scanning records and treatments for incidence of ill-health such as lameness and mastitis are important to get the most accurate picture of your herd. For more information:

 How to achieve higher grass production and utilisation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:26:45

How to achieve higher grass production and utilisation

 Farming tips from Grass 10 champion Eddie O’Donnell | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:19:22

Farming tips from Grass 10 champion Eddie O’Donnell

 The importance of hygiene and sustainability on the Walsh farm | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:18:47

We revisit the farm of milk quality award winners John and Brendan Walsh with John giving an insight into his farming life and how his milk hygiene practices really changed with the new milking parlour, while Brendan explains the importance of sustainability to the family farm. For more information go to

 Part 2: Soil recovery time and cows' diet in drought conditions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:11:54

On part two of this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, Grass 10 Manager, John Maher, speculates on recovery time from soil moisture deficit once it rains. With depleted grass covers on many farms across the country, John suggests different diets to feed cows over the coming weeks, emphasising the importance of water in the cow's diet with water demand doubling! For more information from Teagasc on coping with the current conditions: (

 Part 1: The grass management tools you need for the dry conditions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:18:23

How can dairy farmers cope with the current summer dry conditions? Teagasc's, Grass 10 Manager, John Maher gives the top management tools. He explains the link between soil moisture deficit and grass growth whilst also advising on fertiliser strategy, 2nd cut silage and management of recently reseeded ground. For more information from Teagasc go to:

 How to cope with the summer drought conditions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:06:05

With the ongoing summer drought conditions, Emma-Louise Coffey presents some of Teagasc's key advice and tips to help farmers cope and manage with their grassland management. For more information, go to:

 Insights and advice from Milk Quality award winners John & Brendan Walsh | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:39
 Work-life balance with once-a-day-milking | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:19:56

On this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, we hear from Dairy Farmer Gillian O'Sullivan about how once-a-day milking helps her family achieve work life balance. Gillian is farming near Dungarvan with husband Neil and father Michael. Gillian and Neil began dairy farming almost 10 years ago, and credits her father's wealth of knowledge, their local dairy advisor Brian Hilliard and other farmers at discussion groups and events as the main source of information when entering farming. Gillian explains the benefits of the once-a-day milking systems with particular emphasis on the positive effect on labour and the benefits it confers for their young family as well as positive health and fertility benefits for their cows. Milk solids took a 20% hit in the first year of once-a-day milking but recovered in Year 3 to levels of 365 kg milk solids - similar to what they produced twice-a-day. They have now exceeded this performance, delivering almost 390 kg milk solids in 2017. Gillian emphasises how the A+B-C payment system is advantageous to them with 9% milk constituents and lower milk volume. For more information: Selection of dairy cows for once-a-day milking ( Economic implications of transitioning from twice-a-day to once-a-day: (

 How to maximise grass utilisation during a drought | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:16:32


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