Lots of interest in work practices of Watergrasshill farmer

Host farmer, Donal O'Reilly from Watergrasshill (second right) pictured with, l-r: Richie O'Brien (Teagasc), John Murphy (Glanbia) and Shane McElroy (Glanbia) at last Friday morning's farm walk. (John Ahern)

There was a large turnout at the recent walk on the farm of Donal O’Reilly, who milks a 180 strong herd on his farm in Bishop’s Island, Watergrasshill. 

A member of the Teagasc & Glanbia Monitor Farm Programme, Donal very kindly hosted the walk, which gave fellow farmers a valuable insight into his ultra-streamlined operation.

He summed up his approach as trying to be as efficient as possible.

“It’s about working as efficiently as possible and making the maximum use of time, I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple and getting the basics right while always being open to new ideas,” Donal said at the conclusion of last Friday morning’s walk.

Donal has taken over the day to day running of the farm from his parents, Tadhg and Margaret and currently employs Mitchelstown man, Tommy Norris to assist with the milking process.

A key ingredient to his success has been securing a ‘contract rearer’ – Donal keeps calves for 10/11 months before passing them on the contract rearer, before they eventually return to his farm.

He is constantly improving his breeding lines and in recent times he has invested considerably in a new 20 unit parlour and 140 new cubicles.

Other important elements of his dairy farm are the emphasis he places on grass measuring and continual soil testing.

Donal receives great support from his wife, Muireann – they have a two year old son, Aidan. His modern approach to dairying allows him to spend lots of quality time with his family.

Despite his finely-tuned operation, Donal believes further refinements are possible and the intention is to increase his herd size to 200 cows in the next twelve months or so.

Those who attended the event left very impressed by what Donal has achieved to date.