Conor embraces dairying innovations

CORNER CASEY RI Farm
n Conor Casey on the family farm in Cloughmills, Co. Antrim.

CONOR Casey farms with his father in Cloughmills, County Antrim. They milk 180 Holstein cows in an indoor, all year round calving system.

Conor studied at CAFRE in 1995, completed a CCA and NVQ Level 3 as part of a day release scheme. Upon graduating Conor returned home and has developed a keen interest in implementing new innovations on the farm.

In 2018 three GEA monobox robotic milkers were installed, slurry is applied using low emission spreading equipment and cow manager smart tags are used to monitor heat detection, health and rumination of the cows.

Conor uses genomic testing on all of the replacement heifers and specific bull calves based on parent average. Conor’s keen interest in dairying technology over the years led to him becoming a CAFRE Focus farmer in the mid-2000s.

Conor has taken part in numerous research studies over the years with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough, including studies into dry cow and fresh cow management.

Conor strengthened his ties with CAFRE in 2018 by becoming one of 10 pilot farmers from Northern Ireland involved in the EU Interreg Dairy-4-Future project. The aim of the Dairy-4-Future project is to increase the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of dairy farms, through the development of innovative and efficient dairy systems and increased cooperation between research and development stakeholder groups.

Pilot farmers were chosen on a selection criteria, including good technical and environmental performances, motivated individuals and innovative dairy farms that are testing novel dairy systems or working in close collaboration with research and development.

Going forward, Conor aims to improve farm sustainability by becoming more efficient through producing more milk from less feed, using less antibiotics and farming in a more environmentally suitable way.

Conor has had a great experience with employing CAFRE students on his farm over the years. He sees the arrangement as a win-win situation for both parties as he gets a young and motivated employee who is willing to learn and the student benefits from the hands-on learning experience with the exposure to all of the technologies and systems used on the farm.

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