DJ Keohane, from Timoleague, is farming from the age of 16. When he first began, it was a mixed farm but now is solely dairy, with herd of 140.
Almost two years ago, he realised that their six stall milking parlour was at least thirty years out of date.
It was not fit for the size of the herd and time spent milking took four hours morning and evening. As DJ says, ‘that’s a fair chunk of time’.
As well as that, he was missing taking his children to GAA matches, training and other evening activities as rarely did he finish before 8pm. Most of the children’s activities took place at 6pm.
He was never at a match, commencing milking at 4pm in the afternoon and not finishing until after 8pm. The cows were standing around for longer increasing the mess that needed cleaning afterwards.
‘Most of the load fell on my wife. Now I can help out. And I enjoy watching the matches and supporting them in their sports.’
Realising that something needed to be done DJ did some research and opted for the GEA 20 unit Herringbone, as he knew it was a popular choice among farmers.
GEA had a good name and a few people near him who had the system had only good things to say about it.
He is still awed at the difference it has made to him and his family. It takes about an hour and a half to milk the entire herd including the clean-up.
‘The cows’ he says ‘took to it like ducks to water. The first day they hesitated with the smell of new paint and new machines but since then we’ve never looked back.’
Installing the GEA Herringbone means DJ can take a small step back from what were 16 hour days.
They do have farm help who generally take the summer off. This year his ten year old son and fourteen year old daughter were able to milk the entire herd. ‘We’ve had a really good summer’ he says.
‘It was great to finish early and go to the matches’
DJ believes farming is a very good life and that it is a good training for children.
It gets them up in the morning and out of the house. It gets them used to working. His sixteen year old daughter had paid holiday work off the farm and had no problem adjusting as she’d worked with the family on the farm.
The proximity of the GEA plant at Ballincollig means a lot to DJ.
‘They provide an excellent service’ he says, ‘and are always there at the end of a phone’.
GEA FT Ballincollig installed the system and was present for the first three milking sessions to ensure all ran smoothly.
The only complaint DJ has is that he didn’t do this at least five years ago.
‘I’ve spent all of my forties milking,’ he says. ‘Now at least I’m getting a bit of life back.’