By Barbara Collins
Glastry Farm is a specialised dairy farm which extends to 247ac owned, in addition to an extra 190ac leased at Kircubbin, on the Ards Peninsula of Co. Down.
The farming enterprise is run by Gareth and Liz Taylor, the sixth era of Taylors on this farm, dates again to 1856 and was initially 58ac.
The seventh era, Amy, Isla and Tom take an curiosity within the farming actions however are at this level, of college age.
Will Taylor is the fifth era. He takes care of the Glastry Farm ice cream aspect of the enterprise, having diversified in 2004. He says issues are going properly, however that a whole lot of effort goes into that.
“Now we have a rainfall of 28-30in (850mm) year-on-year with all grass/clover leys, 45ac of forage maize and 15-20ac of winter wheat,” he mentioned.
“That is the bottom ration for our pedigree dairy herd and ensures that there’s a reseeding coverage constructed into the system.
“The 300-cow pedigree dairy herd is the engine that drives the farm, it has been self-contained for a era.
“The one exterior buy is an Aberdeen Angus bull each third/fourth 12 months as a heifer ‘sweeper bull’ with an exemplary well being background,” he added.
“That is principally as a result of the area has 18% of herds beneath TB restrictions with all of the related cashflow implications plus the doable lack of a lifetime of breeding endeavour.”
Genetics and yield at Glastry Farm
The present herd genetic acquire within the black and white breed is speedy over the previous decade and extra so at Glastry, the place the milk recording, based on the Nationwide Milk Information (NMR) report for August 12, 2023, confirmed the rolling common milk yield was 10,632kg.
Maybe extra considerably, the rolling common for fats is kind of spectacular in that it’s 4.72% fats and three.41% protein.
“That will be very a lot forward of the pack when it comes to the Northern Eire or Irish common when it comes to each quantity and when it comes to parts,” he added.
So, how does that come about?
“Now we have nearly 80% of the herd in glorious (EX) or excellent (VG) standing and genomic information on the females, in addition to sires which can be getting used, to enhance quickly our genetic acquire and herd efficiency,” Will continued.
“There’s a very clear relationship between the genetic potential of the herd and the environment friendly use of inputs, significantly, feed.
“We have to carry tremendous administration allied with very good vitamin to those high-performance animals to learn from their genetic potential twelve months a 12 months. Would the Purple Bull group fill an F1 racing automotive with paraffin to cheapen the working prices in a Grand Prix race?
“But, we frequently try this in instances of drought, poor grass availability, moist or monsoon durations and antagonistic circumstances, but we don’t react rapidly and lose productiveness in consequence.”
The Taylors really feel they’ve addressed the ‘moral timebomb’ of dairy farming in Eire by utilizing sexed semen on the quartile of the herd with most genetic potential, so solely pure black and white heifer calves are born on farm.
The remainder of the herd are inseminated with Aberdeen Angus semen. The ensuing calves are moved immediately at six weeks to the ABP Angus rearing scheme on an accredited farm.
Will Taylor mentioned that the surroundings can also be an essential concern in how they farm.
“We take our environmental obligations severely, as dairy farming is within the highlight when it comes to air pollution of our lakes and waterways, with growing laws heading our approach and derogations of what we do and the way we conform changing into extra stringent,” he mentioned.
“We’re a part of the primary tranche of farms which were a part of the Soil Nutrient Administration Scheme in Co. Down.
“All our fields have been sampled and readings for lime necessities, phosphorous, potassium and sulphur for the anticipated crops for the following three years tabulated.”
“This train has saved us a number of thousand euro already in 12 months one, and in a interval of excessive fertiliser costs, science has overcome the blanket extra of vitamins being utilized,” he added.
Will defined that they’ve accomplished a carbon audit of the farm.
“Our backside line end result for 2023 is 1.23kg/L of milk produced, which is a barometer of enter effectivity on this dairy farm,” he mentioned.
Will mentioned there has not been a lot impression on their farm from Brexit.
“By way of the farm, the impression has been minimal. Inputs have clearly elevated dramatically specifically due to the Ukraine struggle; the value of fertiliser and feed have risen dramatically,” he mentioned.
“Brexit, farm-wise, has had a minimal impact however I believe the farming group as a bunch who voted very resoundingly, as I perceive it, to come back out of the European Union, I believe they’re now discovering that they’ve been very a lot misled.
“The nice yonder of a lot much less paperwork and being accountable for their very own well-being actually hasn’t occurred and in precise truth, farms, together with our personal right here at Glastry, have a a lot heavier burden or paperwork and statutory farm visits than they’ve had beforehand.”
Will says the important thing to their success lies in working the farm and the ice cream/sorbet companies alongside one another.
“That’s the secret of what’s a really built-in enterprise to maintain each side of it persevering with being worthwhile which is clearly the last word sustainability benchmark and with out that enter from my son and daughter-in-law, this enterprise wouldn’t proceed in the way in which it’s in the meanwhile,” he mentioned.
“We consider that our 150 years of farming this land is a testomony to our sustainability in all its types and we’ll proceed to make use of science to underpin all that we do sooner or later,” he added.