Cork Dairy Farmer uses Eornagold, to Unlock His Farm Potential

Case Study


Dan & Bernie Crowley Increased Milk Yields by 8%

Dan and Bernie Crowley, farming in Dripsey, Co.Cork, have a high yielding pedigree herd; with a heavily stocked grazing platform of over 4 livestock units per hectare. Faced with the challenges of managing an indoor winter-feeding system and a need to supplement their grass-based system at key times during the remainder of the year, the Crowleys began to work with Specialist Nutrition in early 2014 by incorporating Eornagold into their diet. Since that time their milk yield has increased by +8%, while milk solids have grown by over 13%.

Unlocking Animal Potential

Running a busy farm of over 470 livestock units, including 200 dairy cows and 40 pedigree breeding bulls, means the Crowleys need a reliable source of feed that enables them to get the most out of their high potential animals. Working with Pat Coakley from Specialist Nutrition, they rebalanced the herds diet with an emphasis on increasing animal intakes to unlock their full potential. A new total mix ration (TMR) diet for the winter period was developed, which consisted of grass and maize silage, fodder beet, Eornagold mix from Specialist Nutrition, soya bean meal, a 2-way mix of barley and maize meal, along with Vistacell AB rumen enhancer and additives.

Dan added: “Since I started dealing with Specialist Nutrition I’ve seen an increase in milk production, while at the same time my cows health has been maintained and there’s been a great improvement in the condition of my pedigree bulls. I couldn’t be happier with the impact it has had.”

Eornagold is a co-product from the distillery industry. It is highly palatable in nature, and is an excellent source of high quality protein, along with providing good energy density. By introducing this product, the Crowleys have been able to increase animal intakes, with the additional benefit of reduced sorting at the head-feed; resulting in increased milk output and quality. Dan explained how they use Eornagold to ensure a year-round consistent diet: “Our winter diet is based around Eornagold and silage as the main protein source, so we pit in the summer to ensure a supply for this busy period. For the remainder of the year we hold a supply of Eornagold mixed with soya hulls; and use this as a buffer feed to maintain production levels and cow condition when required.”

Speaking about the Eornagold’s role in the diet Pat Coakley from Specialist Nutrition said: “Dan has included Eornagold in his herds diet at key time periods throughout the year; with an emphasis on increasing energy density over the winter period, driving up intake levels of fresh calvers in spring and improving overall cow condition. Ultimately Dan wanted to see more milk in the tank and the result speaks for itself.”

In addition, rumen enhancer Vistacell AB was incorporated into the herds diet in late 2013; with the goal of improving overall rumen efficiency. In this product, Acid Buffer is combined with Vistacell yeast to increase fibre digesting bacteria in order to make the rumen more efficient. Speaking about the inclusion of this nutritional product Dan said: “There was an immediate noticeable difference in the consistency of the dung in all the animals. They are thriving on it.”

Unlocking Land Potential

As with most farms, land is a limiting factor for the Crowleys and they face an ongoing challenge to unlock their farms full potential on a grazing platform of 120 acres, while maintaining a very high stocking rate.

However, using Eornagold the Crowleys have been able to utilise their land better on the shoulders of the year; which has ensured their land isn’t overgrazed & yearly output from grass is maximised using a careful grassland management approach.

Dan explained: “To maintain grass regrowth and get the most out of our land it’s crucial for us that we keep our land in good condition. This is particularly important at the shoulders of the year, and as we’ve all experienced this year, you need a system in place that ensures you’re not forced to put animals out on wet land that could cause long-term damage. Eornagold allows us to carefully manage this.”

Unlocking Farmer Potential

Sitting high above the banks of the River Lee, the Crowleys farm is prone to drought from time to time; this poses a serious risk to their business and something they have been keen to manage.

By incorporating Eornagold into their diet they have insulated their business from any potential impact a bad weather period or poor silage quality may have. This, coupled with reducing their overall feeding costs, gives the Crowley’s confidence in their long-term business viability.

Dan explains “We run a busy farm unit, so I need to have a system in place that’s reliable and runs smoothly. Every business or farm carries risk and Eornagold is part of my insurance policy in managing the risks associated with maintaining a productive and profitable system. Since using Eornagold I’ve seen positive results in the milking parlour, with overall feeding costs reduced.”

The Results

The expertise of Specialist Nutrition, coupled with Eornagolds unique nutritional and palatable features has unlocked the true potential of the Crowley’s farm and increased their farm’s profitability. Along with providing them with peace of mind in knowing they have a reliable feeding system in place that protects them from weather variability.

Download The Crowley Farm Case Study Here