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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.