The following article is published in Lakeland Dairies / Teagasc Joint Development Programme’s innovative and informative 28-page booklet.
The booklet contains recommendations, tips and case studies, aimed at making farm life easier for Lakeland Dairies’ milk suppliers.
Evening milking times are decided by tradition or habit on many farms. However, changing the time of your PM milking can dramatically improve work organisation on the farm.
Dermot Heaney of Kilberry, Co. Meath and Ciaran Boylan of Kingscourt Co. Cavan are two farmers who opt to milk at 3pm. They operate a 16-8-hour milking interval which is central to work efficiencies on the farm.
The milking times I operate are 7am in the morning and 3pm to 3.30pm in the afternoon. This is a 16-8-hour milking interval. It is working extremely well on my farm and I am doing it for a number of reasons:
1. Better lifestyle - The milking and all the farming are completed at 5-5.30pm which allows me to spend time with family and on hobbies.
2. Happier staff - Fixed afternoon milkings at 3pm to 3.30pm ensure a consistent finishing time of 5pm. This, in turn, helps retain staff and makes your farm more attractive for employees. My current employee has been with me for seven years.
3. Succession - The 16-8-hour interval showcases dairying as a more positive career for the next generation.
Milking at 3pm helps organise my day. We aim to get a lot of farm jobs done between 10am-3pm. There, is, of course, the occasional evening we run late after milking, at silage, for example, but we find it important not to let the afternoon milking slip.
Image source: Lakeland Dairies / Teagasc Joint Development Programme