Labour played a key role in the husband-and-wife team’s decision to transition to a crossbred herd.
So far, Joe said, approximately 170 of the cows have calved with zero veterinary assistance and minimal intervention from either himself or Kathleen.
“Our challenge is to see can we manage 200 cows without labour. We have had a very busy February and, without crossbred cows, we wouldn’t have managed.”
“If you had to really focus on the cow and calf, like we were doing with the Holsteins, we wouldn’t have managed and it wouldn’t have been physically possible to do so without bringing in labour,” he added.
The Tipperary-based farmer was also pleased with the calving performance of the herd this spring.
“The crossbred cows perform exceptionally well. We started calving on the first of February and we have less that 30 left to calve.”
“We didn’t stay up many nights, we let the cows calve themselves and, against all Teagasc recommendations, we feed colostrum to almost no calves.”
“The calves are robust, healthy, get up and suck and we hardly get a chance to give them colostrum. For us to manage the numbers we have, robust cows and calves are a must,” he said.
“To look after 200 cows without outside help requires an ‘easy-care’ cow, but we have also invested in practical facilities.”