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    "The quality of the equipment is
    great and the ACR's are fantastic,
    the whole package has been
    extremely labour saving
    and time efficient."

    Donal Maher

     
     
    Donal Maher
     

    I choose Dairymaster for speed and service!


    Donal Maher farms in Drangan, Thurles in Co. Tipperary. Donal installed a new 12 unit Swiftflo Double parlour in 2008. His reason for installing a new parlour was to try to save labour - in 1995 he was milking in an 8 unit swingover parlour, as cow numbers were increased he decided to upgrade it to a 12 unit in 2003. With the 12 unit parlour it was taking 1 hour and 20 minutes to milk 50 cows. Since the installation of the 12 unit double up he is milking 110 cows and this is taking approx 50 minutes. The herd is made up of British Friesian cows and Donal farms on 140 acres of land. The farming business was established approx 5 generations ago with Donal taking over from his late father Danny. Donal is married to Olive and they have a son Fiachra who is 4 and is already gearing up to be the next generation to take over the farm.

    The washing of the milking plant is done with an AutoWasher meaning that Donal only has to push a button and then he can get on with his other jobs around the farm. Milking is done twice a day at 8 am and at 5 pm with one person milking. Donal manages the farm by himself although he normally hires a student during the summer months to give him a hand during the busy period. On his parlour Donal went with Automatic Cluster Removers, which he finds "brilliant - an absolute pleasure to milk with them, I can put on the first 24 units, go out into the sheds, clean the cubicles and bring in the rest of the cows and by the time I come back the first 2 rows are finished milking without any worry about cows being over or under milked. The cluster removers are a fantastic labour saving piece of kit".  He also went with a Diversion line which he uses for feeding calves. FeedRite Automatic Feeders are installed which he comments are very good - he has these installed since 1995 and has never had a bit of trouble with them, he has never once had to put in a call about them. Also installed were manual bailing, split level drains which Donal comments are great for keeping the parlour clean and air gates which he says he has fantastic control with.

    The average yield of the herd is 1,400 gallons with the annual output of milk at 120,000 gallons; Donal can see this increasing though adding a few more cows to the herd. Currently he is doing some winter milking. The diet of the cows is made up of grass, silage, wholecrop barley, crimped wheat and soya bean with top up amounts of ration being fed in the parlour. Glanbia Co-Op is supplied with the milk and it is collected every 3 days. Presently Donal is rearing all the calves as he does not want to buy any more cows and his ambition is to go back to spring calving.

    Initially the Maher's heard of Dairymaster through neighbours, they saw their milking parlours and on advice from other farmers decided to install one. The current plant was sold through Brendan Coffey Dairy Services. What interested Donal most about the Dairymaster plant were the parlour speed and labour efficiency and the fact that it was a nice working environment with good width and light. As he rears all his own replacements Donal has new heifers coming on all the time and he has no problems with them whatsoever. And he advises coming back to the ACR's the benefits of them are even more evident with the heifers, "they are much happier as there is no overmilking going on, if necessary I would be able to leave the parlour and AI a cow in the middle of milking no problem,  they make milking very fast and very easy."

    Donal's SCC is currently running at 212,000 with TBC at 11,000 protein at 3.35, butterfat of 3.88 and lactose of 4.7.

    Donal would absolutely recommend Dairymaster without hesitation to family and friends as he advises that "with Dairymaster there is a will to look after the farmer, ours was a difficult job as I had to continue milking in the parlour morning and evening and the installation boys were most helpful and we never had any problems. The service is top class!"

    In the future depending on the milk price Donal can see himself getting up to 140 cows and if he does this he would take on some part time staff and take it a bit easier himself. Donal's main objective is to look after his cattle, he comments that he is not into wrecking the land as parts of it is heavy ground, he is currently feeding 4/5 kilos a day. Donal also grows wholecrop barley, triticale and crimped wheat - last year Donal cut 120 acres of silage.

    Donal commented "the time saving that the unit has offered me has allowed me to spend a lot more time with my wife and young son. The quality of the equipment is great and the ACR's are fantastic, the whole package has been extremely labour saving and time efficient."