Dairy advice

Milking course will help cream rise to the top

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary Star reporter

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Milking course will help cream rise to the top

John Anthony O'Brien in his milking parlour

To date, the Best Practice in Milking course has proven to be a great success among farmers throughout Ireland.

Hundreds of farmers both experienced and inexperienced have completed the course and each one has benefitted from doing it in some way.

The QQI accredited course, which is ran in conjunction with FRS, Teagasc and AHI, is available nationwide for anyone looking to become a milker or simply improve their skills.

John Anthony O’Brien from Westmeath completed the milking course in Mullingar.

John has a herd of 105 cows on his farm where he resides with his mother, wife Carmen and two daughters Remy and Pia. He hopes to increase his herd to 120 over the coming years.

Before the milking course, John had little knowledge of milking so decided to do the course in hope of furthering his milking skills and knowledge. He wasn’t left unsatisfied. Completing the course as a new entrant to milking, John found he learned a lot and gained great experience.

“I found the whole course and how each part was run and explained to be very good. I was a new entrant so I had very limited knowledge and experience so I found it really helped me. It was fantastic.”

Everything John learned on the milking course was new information to him and coming in as a beginner he found he retained it all and picked things up quite quickly. Every part of it for him was value for money.

“I think the course really is great value. Every part of the course was new to me, the whole running of the parlour and the set up was great. The practical milking itself and the whole concept behind a proper milking routine really stuck with me.”

The way the course is divided into practical and theory changes it up but also gives the farmers the information along with the hands on experience. For John, having the practical side to the course is a bonus.

“I really liked the mix between the theory and the practical but the practical side is always great. With being told something, things can fly over your head whereas when you are shown something hands on and see it happening in-front of you it really clicks,” he said.

own milking parlour

Before doing the milking course, John had no parlour of his own. After completing the milking course in the summer of 2015, John began constructing his own milking parlour, which he had up and running by January 2016.

“Before I did the course I didn’t have anything - no milking parlour at all. I only started the roadways about two months afterwards and I was milking my first cows in the parlour in the January.”

Doing the milking course impacted on how John decided to go about building his milking parlour and the way in which he was going to lay it out.

“The course really did impact on how I would go about my parlour. Parts of the course really influenced me. I got a lot of helpful tips during the course from the tutor. Simple things like row right handed turns, roadways and how a row should be wide enough to get a straight run into and out of your parlour. It all comes down to how cows act and react to their surroundings,” he said.

John wouldn’t hesitate in recommending and encouraging others to do the milking course.

“I really would recommend the course to others. For me personally, I knew nothing so it was all new to me. It was information I needed badly but I think there’s something there for everybody be it an experienced milker or not.”

Although there were people there who had milked all their lives, the course does cater for those who are just starting out too.

“There were lads in there who were relief milking all their life and experienced, I think they found it interesting too and learned things that they didn’t previously know. There was something there for everybody to be honest it really was worthwhile.”

For more information or to book a course place call Pat Reilly on 086 4634155 or visit www.frstraining.com/milkingcourse.