Tadhg Hurley served his farming apprenticeship on a number of different west Cork farms before entering a farm partnership with his father, Finbarr, four years ago.
Finbarr is still very active on the farm and when we called recently he had been out and around the farmyard using burnt oil to protect steel work in the cubicle shed, the crush, the feed barriers and any implements that were lying around.
Tadhg is married to Helena and they have two children, TJ and Charlie.
They recently built a new house on the home farm.
Tadhg is the third generation of Hurleys to farm this land. Daniel (Tadhg’s grandfather) bought Barleyfield in 1936, and, in 1975, Finbarr took over from Daniel.
Tadhg was keen to take over in his early 20s but Finbarr persuaded him to go and work on other farms to gain experience from other farmers who do things differently and learn other skills and how to manage larger numbers of stock, etc.
One of the more interesting aspects of milk quality on this farm is that the Hurleys don’t use any antibiotic tubes to treat a case of mastitis during the year and over 90% of the cows at drying off get teat sealer only.
If clots are identified during the year, udder mint is used and, depending on the severity, an injection of Tylosin 200 is administered. At drying off, they rely heavily on the milk-recording information and sometimes the CMT paddle identifies a quarter which may have a touch of mastitis or previously had a touch of mastitis and that quarter only might get an antibiotic tube.
The milk prep routine is impressive with each cow stripped, foamed, wiped, milked and sprayed after milking.
There is a cluster flush in the parlour to prevent any cross contamination if mastitis is present.
The results speak for themselves. Average SCC is 91 and it rises slightly in October and November when milk volumes supplied are getting small.
There were 75 cows milked in 2020. Herd EBI is €157 with replacement stock closer to €190 EBI. The total area farmed is 36ha with 30ha available for grazing around the farmyard.
About 800kg meal is fed per cow so reseeding is a key tool to keep grass moving and growing. Like a lot of the farms in west Cork, this farm has waterways running through so streams are fenced off, trees and hedges are maintained and grass is managed to optimise growth and keep milking cows at grass from 1 February to the end of November, if at all possible.
No stock bull has been used on the farm for almost 40 years with dairy AI followed by beef AI the order of the day.
Tadhg has plans to extend the parlour and will tag on another four units. There are also plans to install a larger wastewater tank to store parlour washings and dirty water. It is onwards and upwards for this Barryroe Co-op supplier.