Colin Boland - Glebecartron Herd
As one example of the demographic of young trained dairy farmers who have commenced their dairy farming careers post quotas, Colin Boland farms with his parents David and Kathleen. Milking 160 cows with split spring and autumn calving seasons, and with a 62-ha grazing platform the farm of predominantly free-draining soils straddles the Westmeath Offaly border.
Colin graduated from Gurteen College last year and is now relishing the exciting task taking charge of herd management and development
One of the first tasks he completed was to grade up the herd, registering the Glebecartron prefix upon IHFA membership. The herd’s first classification inspection for conformation resulted in 8 cows scored to Excellent (EX) standard, 46 Very Good (VG) and 52 Good Plus (GP).
An award-winning herd, the Boland family were previously shortlisted for the NDC & Kerrygold Quality milk awards. 10% of the farm is reseeded each year with clover incorporated for a number of years now. The high proportion of clover evident in the swards today is testament to the success of their reseeding policy, framed with an outlook of best long-term return on investment.
Ever adapting and embracing new technologies for farm improvement the family recently invested in two significant efficiency purchases; a low emission slurry spreading tank (LESS) and a variable speed vacuum pump for the milking parlour.
Breeding of the Herd
Colin is quick to pay tribute to his father for having always had a good eye for quality stock over the years. For many years, selection was always based on having cows with good milk yield performance and sound functional conformation. High quality AI bulls and stock bulls bred from top maternal lines were selected for use in the herd. The high level of data recorded enabled a very quick transition to pedigree registered herd status via the IHFA Grade Up service.
The high level of data recorded enabled a very quick transition to pedigree registered herd status via the IHFA Grade Up service.
Cows of 4th lactation and older representing 40% of the herd recorded a milk recording performance average of 8,710kgs milk, 642kgs milk solids, 4.03% fat, 3.34% protein last year. Average SCC for this cohort of mature cows was a commendable 61.