Helen’s Farming Week: Calving time on a Dairy herd

Patrick Bolger

| Cattle & Dairy

| Feb 17, 2017

Helen farmer in field with cows

I farm at home along with my Mam (Geraldine) and my Dad (Patsy). We own 96 acres and we lease a further 30 acres 4 miles from the home farm.

We are spring calving for both our Dairy and Suckler herd. Our Dairy herd consists of 43 cows and 6 heifers. The Dairy bull calves are kept and sold as stores, the heifer calves are mostly kept for replacements. The Suckler herd consists of 10 Cows and 10 replacement heifers. Most of the Suckler calves are sold at 8 months old.

Calving started over a week now, so it’s time to be getting back into a routine, early mornings, late evenings and night duty alone with working in Herdwatch during the day, who said any job finishes at 5pm!!

To be fair, it a nice time of the year and I’m lucky Mam and Dad are still farming at home. I’m not under serve pressure to have everything done in the morning before I go to work.  Although at 27, I have been given more of a part to play in everyday events and with much delight Mam has handed over the night calving duties.

A typical day during Calving season

My day normally starts off by getting up at 6:30, hopping on the wellies and overalls, then outside to getting started foddering, cleaning down the cubicles and milking. Then back inside to try and be ready for 8:30 (which doesn’t always happen) to head into Herdwatch HQ!

I spend my day working with sales and support calls in the office, I love my job! It’s nice to get a break from being at home 24/7, I also find its hard as a young person to stay at home full time nowadays from a financial point of view.

During the day, Mam and Dad do all the daily jobs, then 5 pm comes and it’s back into the wellies again and out to the yard for the evening. It’s hard this time of the year, the evenings are dark early so any dosing, cleaning out of sheds or any of the main jobs are done on a Saturday and that mostly runs into a Sunday too this time of the year.

Changing things up on the farm

This year we are changing our plans a little on the farm, normally we keep our bullocks and non-replacement heifer’s and sell at the mart at 2 years old, but from this year onwards we are going to sell those animals as yearlings. We have found keeping them an extra year doesn’t satisfy the price. I also hope to buy in 20 Friesian calves and rear them myself this year, selling them as yearlings. We are at our max cow numbers on the home farm so getting the calves will add to the stock numbers of the herd.

Calf Registration

Once calved and tagged, the registration is recorded into Herdwatch from the shed. I send it off to the Department from the app when I get back into the house.

Helen’s Dairy Cows enjoying a good feed.

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