Conor Casey, a dairy farmer from Cloughmills in Co. Antrim, has shared his experience of hosting a technology demonstration farm (TDF) visit on his property. Casey’s 240 cow dairy farm was recently appointed as a dairy TDF under the theme of Genetic Selection and Fertility Management. TDFs provide a network of local farms that allow other farmers the opportunity to see new technology and innovations which they could adopt on their own farms. The College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) has appointed over 500 TDFs since 2019, with the latest being held at the Casey dairy farm.
The Casey family farm is managed by father and son team, Cahal and Conor, who oversee the Carnhill herd of pedigree Holstein cows. The cows are milked on four robots, with the replacement heifers contract reared on a local farm. The herd is renowned for quality animals, selling heifers, bulls, and cows to local farmers and beyond. The family believes that this has been a big factor in the current success of the herd, which is in the top 10 in the United Kingdom (UK), based on profitable lifetime index (PLI) and leading to 12 bulls going to artificial insemination (AI).
Kenneth Johnston, Innovation Technology Evaluation Demonstration (ITEDS) scheme manager at CAFRE, has praised the meticulous record keeping and attention to detail that has brought the Casey farm to where it is today. Following the recent visit, organised through Cogent UK, Casey expressed his pleasure at hosting a series of farmer groups since he was appointed as a TDF farmer in July 2021. He said, “I have been a TDF farmer since July 2021 and have enjoyed hosting the visits immensely. I am looking forward to hosting more visits over the months ahead.”
Adrian McPhillips from Cogent UK, which arranged the visit, said that there is currently a great interest from farmers in technology and innovation. He stated, “The message delivered by Conor was excellent while the feedback received from the farmers’ group that I brought to the farm was very positive, so all in all, it was a very good day.”
TDFs are a valuable resource for farmers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and innovations in the industry. They provide a platform for farmers to share knowledge and ideas, and to learn from each other. The visits are also an opportunity for farmers to see how different technologies and management practices work in real-life situations, rather than just reading about them in books or online.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the dairy industry, with new innovations being developed all the time. Some of the latest technologies include automated feeding systems, robotic milking machines, and precision farming tools. These technologies can help farmers to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase productivity. They can also help to improve animal welfare, by providing better monitoring and management of the herd.
However, implementing new technologies can be a challenge for farmers, especially those who are not familiar with the latest developments. TDFs provide a valuable opportunity for farmers to see these technologies in action, and to learn from other farmers who have already implemented them on their own farms. This can help to reduce the risk and uncertainty associated with adopting new technologies, and to ensure that farmers are making the most of the latest innovations.
In conclusion, TDFs are an important resource for farmers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and innovations in the industry. They provide a platform for farmers to share knowledge and ideas, and to learn from each other. The recent visit to the Casey dairy farm highlights the value of these visits, and the importance of continued investment in technology and innovation in the dairy industry.