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The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey with the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.

The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey with the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.
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The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey with the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.




Ed Payne and achieving high levels of grass utilisation

Connacht/Ulster Grass 10 champion Ed Payne joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge to discuss the decision to convert to dairy farming and the practices that helped attain the regional grassland award. Ed gives an insight into the production system, emphasising the importance of grazed grass and cow. He also discusses how he's achieving 10 grazings per year, high stocking rate and being mentally prepared to get out grazing early in the spring helps achieve high levels of grass...


The common mistakes and what's needed for successful farm partnerships

Teagasc’s Farm Business Specialist Tom Curran joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss the various collaborative farming structures operating in Ireland. Tom gives examples of case studies of farm structures including as partnerships, cow leasing and contract rearing identifying important criteria to consider and typical costings per animal. Tom also explains the considerable benefits these structures can offer to farm business such as improved lifestyle,...


The opportunities and benefits of collaborative farming

Is collaborative farming for you? Teagasc’s Paidi Kelly joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss the opportunities and benefits from collaborative farming. He explains how and why it works for those interested in farming as a career while for established farmers who don’t have a successor, the next best thing is to work with younger people who want to get into farming. For more...


Management through this secondary drought

A secondary drought has hit the east and south of the country and on this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, Grass10 campaign manager, John Maher, explains best management of this drought. Where growth rates are low at 20-40 kg farmers must maintain a 30 day grazing rotation, using supplementary feed to fill the gap in the cows diet. John explains that there is still Nitrogen in the ground but there is value in spreading Nitrogen between now and the extended closing...


Insights and tips from New Zealand in dealing with summer drought conditions

Andre van Barneveld of Graise Consultancy, draws on his experience of dealing with frequent summer droughts in New Zealand and has some key lessons that Irish farmers can learn from the summer of 2018. "Irish farmers should not have a kneejerk reaction," van Barneveld cautions. "But they should be a lot more pro-active, especially when it comes to problem cows." Andre explains the importance of identifying ‘passenger cows’ who should leave the herd ASAP. Where grass production is...


Identifying the best and worst cows in your dairy herd

On this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, ICBF Geneticist Dr Margaret Kelleher gives the top tips on identifying the best and worst cows in your dairy herd. Firstly, Margaret explains what the Cows Own Worth (COW) index is, what information contributes to each cow's COW value and how the COW index differs from the EBI. Briefly, the COW index is for selecting the best cows for retention in the herd and the worst cows for culling, while the EBI is used for breeding. Furthermore,...


How to achieve higher grass production and utilisation

For part two of our interview with 2017 Grass 10 champion Eddie O’Donnell, we get the top tips on achieving high grass production and more importantly utilisation. Eddie explains what practices implemented on his farm to optimise soil fertility, grazing infrastructure, reseeding and grassland management which has helped achieve on average 10 grazings per paddock plus a silage cut. He emphasises the huge potassium (K) demand on the milking platform where surplus grass is removed in the...


Farming tips from Grass 10 champion Eddie O’Donnell

On this week’s episode of the Dairy Edge podcast, the 2017 Grass 10 champion Eddie O’Donnell gives us an insight into his dairy farm. Eddie and his father Denis have grown their dairy farm business substantially from 70 cows in 2005 to calving down 350 cows across 2 units in 2018. Eddie explains changes on the farm in recent years such as extending lactation length after the abolition of milk quota and introduction of crossbreeding. He acknowledges the benefits of entering the Grass...


The importance of hygiene and sustainability on the Walsh farm

We revisit the farm of milk quality award winners John and Brendan Walsh with John giving an insight into his farming life and how his milk hygiene practices really changed with the new milking parlour, while Brendan explains the importance of sustainability to the family farm. For more information go to


Part 2: Soil recovery time and cows' diet in drought conditions

On part two of this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, Grass 10 Manager, John Maher, speculates on recovery time from soil moisture deficit once it rains. With depleted grass covers on many farms across the country, John suggests different diets to feed cows over the coming weeks, emphasising the importance of water in the cow's diet with water demand doubling! For more information from Teagasc on coping with the current...


Part 1: The grass management tools you need for the dry conditions

How can dairy farmers cope with the current summer dry conditions? Teagasc's, Grass 10 Manager, John Maher gives the top management tools. He explains the link between soil moisture deficit and grass growth whilst also advising on fertiliser strategy, 2nd cut silage and management of recently reseeded ground. For more information from Teagasc go...


How to cope with the summer drought conditions

With the ongoing summer drought conditions, Emma-Louise Coffey presents some of Teagasc's key advice and tips to help farmers cope and manage with their grassland management. For more information, go to:


Insights and advice from Milk Quality award winners John & Brendan Walsh

On this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, milk quality award winners John and Brendan Walsh explain the practices that help them produce the highest quality milk ahead of their Open Day on July 4th. John emphasises the importance of hygiene and grassland to maintain good udder health while Brendan qualifies how they achieve up to 300 days at grass and treatment protocol for cows with mastitis. For more information on the Milk Quality Farm Walk at the Walsh Farm:...


Work-life balance with once-a-day-milking

On this week's episode of The Dairy Edge podcast, we hear from Dairy Farmer Gillian O'Sullivan about how once-a-day milking helps her family achieve work life balance. Gillian is farming near Dungarvan with husband Neil and father Michael. Gillian and Neil began dairy farming almost 10 years ago, and credits her father's wealth of knowledge, their local dairy advisor Brian Hilliard and other farmers at discussion groups and events as the main source of information when entering...


How to maximise grass utilisation during a drought

On this week's episode of the Dairy Edge podcast we speak to Aidan Lawless, Farm Manager of the dairy herd at Johnstown Castle. As the gap widens between the milk production of the spring and autumn calved cows, Aidan explains the current performance and diet. Cumulative performance is similar for the autumn herd compared to the 2016/2017 lactation, while the spring calving cows have a consistently lower protein % compared with 2017. Aidan talks through current grassland management...


Once-a-day-milking to reduce labour demand

On this week’s episode of The Dairy Edge podcast we speak to Waterford based dairy advisor Brian Hilliard about the use of once-a-day milking across the entire lactation. Brian explains that there are 40-50 dairy herds across Ireland milking their herd once a day as a means of reducing overall workload and improving lifestyle. Brian weighs up the pros (reduced labour, improved animal health and fertility) and cons (reduced milk and milk solids yield, increasing SCC, reduced profitability in...


Why robots are the future of milking

Are robots the future of milking? On this weeks episode of The Dairy Edge podcast we speak to Caroline O’Sullivan, manager of the robotic unit at Teagasc Moorepark and Caroline gives an insight into how robotic milking systems work including the number of milkings robots are capable of per day, the ideal number of cows per robot and what her work looks like from day to day. Caroline emphasises the importance of grassland management in robotic systems, aiding the movement of cows from the...


Striking the balance between silage quality and quantity

Dairy Specialist, Joe Patton discusses silage production, from the cost to key metrics for quality and the optimum cutting date. Joe explains what to look for when analysing the quality of grass silage and what quality and quantity of silage is required for the various groups of stock on the farm. Finally, Joe debates optimum cutting date to maximise quality and quantity. Importantly, one silage paddocks reach heading date, quality will decline by 0.5-1 unit per day. For more...


How to achieve fertility targets during the breeding season

Dairy Specialist Martina Gormley speaks to the Dairy Edge about 6-week calving rate, the leading metric for dairy fertility performance. Firstly, Martina identifies where the national dairy herd 6-week calving rate is and how it compares to target. Martina sets out the benefits and subsequently, the financial implications of achieving target. In short, for each 1% increase in 6-week calving profitability will increase by €8.22 per cow, which will increase profitability by €822 per year for...


The use of genomic selection to maximise profitability

We speak to geneticist Donagh Berry about the use of genomic bulls as part of the breeding programme for your farm. Firstly, Donagh explains what genomic selection really means and how it compares to the traditional method of selecting daughter proven bulls. Donagh explains that the milk production, fertility, longevity, and consequently profit is greater in offspring from genomically selected sires than daughter proven sires. Interestingly, over 70% of dairy straws sold in Ireland are from...