Austin, Yvonne and the Connelly family have claimed the overall winners prize for the NDC/Kerrygold quality milk awards 2022.
Austin is the fifth generation of Connellys farming at the Plantation in Tuam. He met dental nurse Yvonne and they subsequently got married in 1999.
In 2003, Austin inherited the family sheep and suckler farm. This farm is a real team effort and while Yvonne and Austin work full-time on the farm, their four daughters all have interests and specific jobs on the farm.
In spring 2019, Yvonne and Austin calved down 80 dairy cows on the 120ac of land owned in a spring-calving-only operation. They teamed up with Aurivo and Teagasc to drive the decisions and achieved over €1,000 per cow of a margin in 2021 that allows the business pay for the investment, while also rewarding Austin and Yvonne for their time and hard work.
They have 50ha (123ac) around the yard and overall they are stocked at 185kg of organic nitrogen per hectare and manage nutrients well. Over 92% of the farm is perfect on pH, 100% is perfect on phosphorus. However, they are still working at lifting potassium levels with almost 60% of the farm in K index two.
The Connellys are doing the job well. They made great decisions on investment. The herd purchased was good and is improving every year since they started.
They set up the system well to deliver and all involved have put the hard yards in on the transition to milking.
Like many new entrants, they depend on good information and measurement and tools like milk recording to drive decision-making.
Austin says his local Teagasc discussion group has been a great help. They manage the business well and take great pride in their work and where they farm. Good decision-making and great team effort.