Speaking to That’sFarming ahead of his appearance at Farmex - The business of farming event, was Cathal Bohane of InTouch, Alltech’s on-farm nutrition service.
Cathal hails from a strong dairy background and will take part at the upcoming Farmex event at the Hub in Kilkenny, October 12th, as part of the Profitable milk production seminar which will be held at 12:30pm on the day.
As mentioned, Cathal comes from a rich agricultural heritage, having grown up on the family’s Holstein/Friesian dairy herd near Skibbereen in Co. Cork.
Following on from his secondary education and keeping in tune with his agricultural background, Cathal went to UCD where he studied a B.Ag Science degree. This he completed in 2000 and followed up with a Masters in Agricultural Science which was done in UCD, whilst working with both Teagasc Moorepark and UCD.
Cathal’s real journey into the agri-sector came in 2003 when the Cork native took on a role with KEENAN as a nutritionist for the Irish, UK and Australian markets. Mr. Bohane has now been with Keenan’s for a total of 15 years and has moved up within the ranks to become the Head of Nutrition for Intouch, the award-winning feed management service.
“I spent the last 15 years working with KEENAN and as part of that we have a nutritional service. In that role I was worked in Ireland, the UK and Australia.” Cathal told That’sFarming.
“Now I am the head of Nutrition for InTouch, which is the nutrition division of Alltech.” Cathal added.
Note - InTouch is a live review and support service with skilled nutritionists, using simple technology and on-farm support to ensure animals get exactly what they need every day. The system provides the collection of live data which is used to provide key advice, allowing for better decision making. InTouch can help you manage herd health, ration formulation, weight gains/yield and even costs.
Role at Farmex -
Cathal is one of five participants to share his voice in the ‘Profitable Milk Production Seminar’ to be held at Farmex, with the seminar kicking off at 12:30pm.
Cathal will be joined by Peter Hynes (Dairy Farmer), Pat McCormack (ICMSA President), Padraic Greenan (Dairy Farmer) and Nutritionist, Brian Reidy. The chair of the seminar will be the ICMSA’s Pat McCormack, with Brian Reidy discussing Alternatives to rented grazing and expensive silages. He will also be joined by Padraic Greenan who will discuss Breeding for Profitable Milk Production, see more here, and Peter Hynes who will discuss being a new entrant into the dairy industry, read more here.
Cathal’s role at the seminar will be to discuss buffer feeding the dairy herd. The Head of nutrition of Intouch says this is an extremely important topic, especially in light of the difficulties facing farmers due to recent weather extremities.
“It (buffer feeding) is a very topical subject this year.” Cathal explained.
He noted that although farmers are currently approaching the final weeks of buffer feeding their stock for 2018, the focus should be on maximising your farm’s potential for the next season.
“Our main philosophy at InTouch would be to maximise the amount of grass you grow and maximise the amount of grass that you utilise on the farm”. Cathal told That’sFarming.
“The whole idea of our philosophy on buffer feeding and supplementation feeding is to maximise the use of your feeds…but also to use it in a very feed efficient way, as much as is possible.” He continued.
Cathal noted another problem that will be touched upon during his talk, waste and spoilage within the system. Other topics discussed will be managing the silage pit correctly and feed efficiency in the animal’s rumen. Cathal explained that taking advice on board ahead of next year is vital for farmers, with the vast majority left short on feed for the coming winter.
“The majority of farms are probably short on feed. We did a survey of our customers at InTouch recently and up to 90% of them were short on feed.” He explained.
“You hear a lot of figures, with people spending 3/4/€500 euro extra per cow in order to supplement their animals this year compared to other years.” Mr. Bohane added.
The take-home message Cathal wants to instill to all those in attendance next Friday, October 12th, is the importance of planning ahead, which enables farmers to manage their herd's more efficiently. He also warned that farmers need to focus not only on grass but also the cow when making any decisions.
“The main thing is to keep an open mind. The approach to each farming system, because of weather and stocking rate, is changing.” Cathal said.
“They (farmers) need to look after the cow as well as maximising the amount of grass going into them. They need to look after the cow from a DM intake point of view because that has a knock-on effect on your production, your herd’s fertility, and margin.” he concluded.
Further information -
FARMEX - the business of farming - is a new one-day conference and trade exhibition on how to increase profitability; sustainability and add long-term equity value to the family farm business.
The DAFM KT-approved event for livestock and tillage farmers will take place at The Hub, Kilkenny on Friday, October 12th. The organisers are hoping to welcome 3,000 attendees including - Agribusiness; advisory and educational personnel; family farmers; farm managers and Ag students; farm managers; farm contractors and Agri-Food Science students to this event.
Tickets are €20 for adults, €10 for agri-students and €40 for a family (two adults & children). Car parking is free and one can avail low-cost group travel via Bus Eireann at only €15/20 per person return. Don't forget to use the 'ThatsFarming' discount code to receive a discount on tickets.
Book online at - www.farmex.ie - and save €5 on your ticket, fill in a short questionnaire and enter a free draw for €2,500 in Agri input & services prizes.