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Food prices would soar after no-deal Brexit, warns major dairy boss

One of the UK’s largest dairy producers has warned that a badly handled Brexit could lead to price hikes for food, and scarcity in the shops from April 2019, with dairy and meat products particularly hit. Gabriel D’Arcy, the chief executive of LacPatrick in Strabane in Northern Ireland, complained that ministers were too focused on financial services and were putting the country’s food security and food standards at risk.

Click the link below to read the full story.

McMahons Scoop Award For Lowest SCC at NDC & Kerrygold Milk Quality Awards

LacPatrick would like to extend its congratulations to Eamonn McMahon and his family on their recent success in the NDC & Kerrygold Milk Quality Awards. The awards function, held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on the 4th of October, sets out to find and celebrate the top quality milk farmers in Ireland.

The McMahons were recognised for their achievement in delivering an exceptionally low SCC of 42,000 cells/ml in 2016. This achievement is all the more remarkable considering that the average TBC for the McMahon farm for 2016 was 8,000 CFU/ml.

Eamonn, a network designer for ESB Networks in the Cavan/Monaghan area, farms with his wife Patricia and children Jack (9) and Kate (7) in Knockaturley, Stranooden. Eamonn impressed the
judges with his meticulous milking and wash routine.

Each cow is fore-stripped and either dry-wiped, or in the case of dirty teats, are washed and dried with a paper towel. Milk socks are changed after each milking. The auto-washed milk plant is hot
washed every morning and cold washed in the evening. An acid wash is carried out once per week. Liners are changed after 2,000 milkings and every two years the long lines are changed. A full
maintenance check is carried out by Eamonn’s milking machine technician yearly. There is no chlorine used in Eamonn’s wash routine. The parlour is fully washed and yards scraped after every milking.

During housing, slats are scraped twice daily for milking cows and once daily for dry cows. All cubicles are bedded with lime. Eamonn is a firm believer in using plenty of bedding in the calving and
calf pens; “if you won’t lie down in the calving pen yourself it is not good enough for the cow!”. A priority is to minimise the time the cow spends in the calving box with the aim being for the cow to
be moved into the milking herd within 12 hours.

Total farm area is 31 hectares and is divided into three blocks with the 50-cow herd grazed on the 15 hectare milking platform. Stocking rate on the milking platform is high at 3.4 LU/ha in the early part of the year and reduces to 2.8 LU/ha after the first cut of silage is taken. The second cut silage is mainly taken from a 7.5 ha outside block of farmland, which is then grazed with youngstock for the remainder of the year. Eamonn has integrated zero-grazing into his feeding routine in recent years in an attempt to increase the proportion of milk produced from grass.

The McMahons run a herd of pedigree Holstein cows and have been breeding with a focus on EBI for a number of years with the current EBI of the herd of €61. The breeding season extends to 16 weeks with AI used in the first eight weeks and a Hereford stock bull turned out with the herd for the final eight weeks. The calving interval of the herd is 376 days with a six-week calving rate of 72%. The replacement rate of the herd is 12%.

Once again, LacPatrick would like to extend its deepest congratulations to Eamonn, Patricia and family on their wonderful achievement.

LacPatrick Dairies Recognises Excellence In Dairy Farming At Its Inaugural Milk Quality Awards

The LacPatrick Dairies Milk Quality Awards will take place on the 22nd of November in the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. The evening event gives LacPatrick the opportunity to recognise its suppliers for their milk quality, quality assurance accreditation, and farm development enterprises.

LacPatrick will assess its supplier farmers across a number of key categories – SCC; TBC; Milk Solids Improvement (ROI and NI); Quality Assurance (ROI and NI); and Farm Development. All suppliers are welcome to nominate themselves or their fellow suppliers for the Farm Development award, contact your Farm Liaison Officer for more details. The awards ceremony will include a drinks reception followed by a delicious three-course dinner and will feature the guest speaker, rugby legend and former Ulster, Ireland and Lions player, Stephen Ferris.

Looking forward to a great event!

Avoid Medicine Residues In Milk

Medicine residues are a major food safety issue in milk as they can be potentially hazardous to human health. They can also interfere with the manufacturing process of dairy products by inhibiting yoghurt and cheese started cultures.
Appropriate use of antibiotics should be adhered to, to ensure they do not enter the human food chain via your milk.
There are ways to avoid residues in milk, though.

  • 1. Discard milk from treated cows
    Withdraw milk for the correct length of time including when medicines are used under the
    cascade (i.e. at least 7 days). Discarded milk may be put in slurry stores or spread on land.
  • 2. Mark cows clearly before treatment
    Identify treated cows clearly e.g. red spray on udder. Identify in a least two ways e.g. also write
    on whiteboard in parlour or on parlour software.
  • 3. Use approved medicines
    Only use medicines prescribed by your vet. Use licensed medicines. Use as per instructions. Use
    the approved route of administration.
  • 4. Keep Records
    Don’t just record the initial treatment: record all treatment administrations. Include cow i.d. and
    withdrawal period end date.
  • 5. Use residue screening tests
    Test milk before adding to bulk tank, particularly after cascade treatments, for brought-in cows
    or if any doubts at all.
  • 6. Use treatment protocols
    Don’t make up your own treatments. Always use protocols drawn up by vet. Display protocols
    clearly for staff (and self). Review frequently.
  • 7. Train staff
    All milkers must be trained in treatment protocols, medicine administration techniques,
    withdrawal procedures and recording requirements. Don’t forget relief milkers.
  • 8. Separate treated cows or milk test
    Cows under withdrawal should preferably be kept in a separate group and milked last. This is
    safer than milking within the main herd. Have a fail-safe system for remembering to remove the
    transfer line from the bulk tank before withdrawal cows are milked.
  • 9. Keep dry cows separate
    Dry cows should be separate from the milking group all year round, from the moment of
    administering dry cow treatment.
  • 10. Use separate milk equipment
    This means using a separate cluster and dump bucket. The only exceptions should be if
    withdrawal cows are milked last and the plant is then washed, or robotic milkers where the
    plant and milk line is washed after each cow.
  • 11. Store medicines correctly
    Dispose of unused medicines and ones which have passed their expiry date.
  • 12. Ensure medicines are labelled correctly
    Withdrawal periods should be clearly labelled on all products so they can be read.
  • 13. Test milk of all purchased cows
    You can never be sure of previous treatments. Bought-in heifers are also a risk.
  • 14. Discard milk from all quarters
    This really shouldn’t need saying, but a withdrawal period is for all quarters of a treated cow, not
    just the treated quarters(s).

If your vet administers a medicine to your cow (s) you should ensure the relevant details are in your medicine record book. Alternatively, they should provide you with the information at the time
including withdrawal period, to enter into the medicine record book as soon possible.

Holstein Young Breeders Travel To The All Breeds All Britain Calf Show With The Support Of LacPatrick

LacPatrick is delighted to sponsor the Holstein Young Breeders on their trip to the All Breeds
All Britain Calf Show in the UK from the 13th to the 15th of October. With the support of LacPatrick, 12 handlers brought their young calves to Worcestershire, England to participate in this show. The show is one of the highlights of the HYB year and includes classes not only for Holstein calves but also for six other dairy breeds, including:

    • British Friesian; Jersey;
  • Guernsey;
  • Brown Swiss;
  • Ayrshire &
  • Dairy Shorthorn breeds.

The results of the trip will feature in next month’s newsletter!

Raising Money For Cancer Charity Is ‘Wee Buns’ At The Ballyrashane Coffee Morning

LacPatrick would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make the LacPatrick Ballyrashane Coffee Morning on Friday, the 29th September a huge success.

Thanks are extended to everyone who donated and baked biscuits, cakes, and buns, and to those who helped set up and run the event, and to everyone who generously donated, especially Artigarvan’s chef, Aidy, for providing some delicious cakes and shortbread biscuits. LacPatrick would like to congratulate Claire Adams for winning the title of Best Baker for her delicious fifteens.

Caption: Claire Adams and Mark McGinnis

In total, the event raised a fantastic £600 for MacMillan Cancer Support.

CellCheck Tip Of The Month – Dry Cow Therapy-Selective Or Blanket?

There is much discussion lately about the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and how the use of antibiotics in both humans and animals can contribute to it. The use of antibiotics at the end of lactation is one area that is receiving increasing attention. There is much discussion about whether farmers should use a blanket or selective dry cow therapy in their herds-what does this actually mean and why do we use dry cow therapy at all?


Dry cow therapy (DCT) consists of intramammary antibiotic tubes and/or internal teat sealer. The
purpose of DCT is to:

  • Eliminate existing udder infections at the end of lactation
  • And prevent new infections over the dry period.

Blanket DCT:

This is when all quarters of all cows are treated with antibiotic.

Selective DCT:

This is when only selected cows i.e. those with infected quarters, are treated with antibiotic. Internal teatsealer can then be used in the remainder of the herd.
When it comes to deciding between blanket and selective DCT, it is not a case of “one size fits all”.

However, there are certain criteria that a herd owner should be able to fulfil, in order to safely consider using selective DCT. For example, regular milk recording is essential, as without this it is not possible to make informed decisions on the likely infection status of each individual animal. Milk cultures results are also important, as blanket DCT may still be necessary for some herds depending on the bacterial challenges that they face. Excellent hygiene when administering any DCT is critical, but even more so with selective DCT, as there is no antibiotic being administered at the same time.

For full details on using selective DCT in your herd, read Management Note C in the ‘CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Control’, and discuss with your vet. If you can’t fulfil all the recommended criteria, for example if you are not milk recording, then start milk recording now so that by Autumn 2018 you will be in a better position to consider selective DCT for your herd and to safely reduce the amount of antibiotic that you use.

For more information and practical tips on Dry Cow Therapy, see CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control-Guidelines 16 – 18 & Management Notes C – F.

Lead Brexit Negotiator For The European Parliament Visits The Farm Of A LacPatrick Supplier

Picture caption: Guy Verhofstadt pictured visiting the farm of Sean Hughes on the border of Co. Armagh and Co. Monaghan

During his two-day visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Guy Verhofstadt, the lead Brexit negotiator for the European parliament, stressed it was up to the UK to come up with a solution in order to prevent a tariff and customs-based militarised ‘hard border’ on the island of Ireland. Following a meeting with political leaders at Stormont, Verhofstadt travelled to the border where he visited the farm of LacPatrick supplier, Sean Hughes. Mr. Hughes’ farm is split between the North and the South and, whilst there, Mr. Verhofstadt met with business and community leaders from the Armagh-Monaghan border areas and groups opposed to any customs checks, tariffs or security barriers on the 300-mile frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The visit was filmed and broadcast by BBC News and featured an interview with Michael Collin, CFO, LacPatrick.

LacPatrick Encourages Its Suppliers To Get On-board With Red Tractor and Origin Green

LacPatrick is fully committed to sustainable farming, ensuring consistent high quality of its product through every step of the food chain, all the while assisting farmers to adopt practices and procedures that help to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

In Northern Ireland, LacPatrick supports suppliers in the Red Tractor scheme, a UK wide farm and quality food assurance scheme with over 11,500 dairy assured members. The Red Tractor Farm
Assurance scheme has been developed over the years to address legislative requirements, scientific evidence, good practice in the industry, and consumer concerns.
All LacPatrick suppliers in ROI are encouraged to sign up to Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme, a national sustainability development programme. This scheme now has over 15,000 milk producers

and the benefits for farmers include increased profitability and a reduced carbon footprint, as well as being able to provide assurance for customers.

By farming sustainably, dairy farmers commit to implementing best practices in animal identification and traceability, animal health, welfare and disease control, land management and the production of safe milk. Red Tractor and Origin Green accreditation, along with the sustainable milk production ethos that both these schemes support, will ensure that LacPatrick enhances its credentials as a producer of quality dairy products.

For more information visit or or speak to your Farm Liaison Officer.

Remember to register for certification!

LacPatrick’s pricing schedule is changing on the 1st January 2018 to reflect the demand from customers that its produce is quality assured. In particular, an important requirement is for all
suppliers to be certified. Good progress has been made towards achieving the aim of 100% certification by 1st January 2018; however, LacPatrick would like to remind those who have not been
certified to contact Ian Olphert on 07525897746 for Red Tractor and Dean O’ Neill on 0860228785 for Origin Green to arrange a pre-audit and to ensure that you do not miss the first deadline for certification of the 1st January 2018.

‘Winter Milk in an Expanding Dairy Industry’ – Teagasc National Winter Milk Event 2017

Thursday, 26th October, Navan, Co Meath

Morning Session: Ardboyne Hotel, Navan (Eircode C15 C9YA)

  • 10:15am: Welcome, tea and coffee
  • 10:45am: TJ Flanagan, Chief Executive ICOS ‘The role of winter milk in a growing industry- the milk processors’ view’
  • 11:15am: Joe Patton, Winter Milk Specialist Teagasc: ‘Calving pattern– the most important decision on your farm?’
  • 11:45am: Brian Garry, Dairy Nutritionist Teagasc Moorepark ‘Feeding for yield, feeding for profit – is there a difference?
  • 12:15pm: Patrick Gowing, Dairy Expansion Service Teagasc ‘Business planning for expansion in a winter milk system’
  • 12:50 pm: Lunch provided in Ardboyne Hotel
    Afternoon Session: Farm Visit to liquid milk herd of Leo Collins, Ardcath, Co Meath.
  • 2:15pm Expert speakers will run four workshops discussing: breeding and cow type for liquid milk
    herds, practical feeding plans; labour management, and energy use efficiency on farm. (Please bring
    appropriate clothing and footwear)

To book a place, please contact Niamh Allen 025-42457 or Event fee is €20 which includes lunch and tea/coffee.