Recently, LIC Ireland had the pleasure of taking part in the “New Zealand Agritech, Making Life Simple” event. The farm open day, run in association with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and Waikato Milking Systems (WMS), was a day for Irish dairy farmers to learn and share knowledge on how NZ agritech can make life on farm simpler and more efficient. Jamie Costin hosted the event on his farm in Ring, Co. Waterford, which was kicked off by special guest, New Zealand ambassador to Ireland, Trevor Mallard.
Getting straight to the point, Jamie told us that the key points to his farming and business plan were profit, work-life balance and ease of life for him, the family and his employees. Jamie has transformed the running of the family farm through intensive investment in technology, systems, best practices and a breeding plan that is designed for his system and the needs of his farm.
When Jamie took over the family farm, the first focus was growing the herd from 150 cows to their current position of 450+ cows. Jamie wanted a herd of cows that you won’t notice – cows that do the job without causing any problems.
The rotary dairy is set in the centre of the farm, with cows travelling up to a mile in all directions. With this in mind, Jamie shares his breeding philosophy, “A cow that is walking a mile in four different directions, has to be a cow that is robust and able to do her job – that’s why we’re doing what we do”.
Discussing key targets, Jamie adds, “We’re not chasing figures, what we’re chasing is profit”.
Yet, while focusing on profit, Jamie is achieving some impressive figures.
“We are in the top 1% for milk price in the country, it shows that the work is paying off. Our figures are continually improving through sire selection and studying the predictions of the calves for future seasons. The provisional bull team for 2024 is showing 5.7% fat and 4.3% protein.”
David Power, LIC Genetic Development Manager, discussed how selection focuses on daughter-proven bulls for Jamie’s herd. They consider the traits other than production (TOP) of the bulls along with capacity, carbon footprint on farm and longevity.
Jamie shared that having a young family was one of the key drivers for him in relation to work-life balance. He believes that agritech can make life simpler while still being profitable. Achieving a fully milked herd of 450 cows in under 90 minutes, along with being in the top 1% for milk price in the country shows it.