Contract rearing is like a marriage, everyone must get on and work together to get the best results, David Guiry told the crowd who gathered on his farm in Co Tipperary last Thursday for a contract-rearing event.

The Fethard farmer has been contract rearing for local dairy farmers since 2013.

“Contract rearing is all about the relationship you have with your farmers, you need them to trust you and you need to trust them.

“We are a part of a team and that’s the way it is,” he said.

Learning curve

Guiry said that the biggest learning curve on his contract-rearing journey was herd health and the importance of keeping on top of it.

Michael O’Connor, Guiry’s vet, who spoke on the night said: “There’s an onus on the herd owner to send calves that are calved down well and got plenty of colostrum.

“If I was getting into contract rearing, I would only take calves from a herd that was vaccinated for rotavirus firstly.”

He also said that it is important that calves receive an intranasal vaccine to cover against RSV, Pi3 and IBR a week before they arrive.


Guiry said that TB is a risk you have to take when considering contract rearing.

“I test every year at April time, at least then God forbid, if something did happen, you’d have until the end of the year to get out of it,” he said.

However, Guiry added that there are risks involved in everything you do, but being able to hand over your calves at 10 days old takes an awful amount of pressure off the dairy farmer.