Anyone with either a current interest in dairy farming – or who intends getting involved in the sector – should keep Wednesday, August 27, clear as a diary date. This is the day that National Milk Records (NMR) is hosting its annual open day, on the Co. Down farm of the Weir family. The farm itself is worth a visit, as it is home to 600 cows. Current average yields exceed 11,000 litres and extensive use is made of zero grazing during the spring and summer months.

But the main attraction at the event will be the presentation given by Cow Signals’ expert Martin Kavanagh. A practising veterinarian, Kavanagh is an extremely enlightening speaker with a unique ability to convey information about cow behaviour in an effective – yet humorous manner. And the fact that he will also be giving a Cow Signals demonstration, using cows within the Weir herd, will be an added bonus for those in attendance.

If Martin Kavanagh was presenting a paper at a conference, delegates would be happy to pay a hefty fee just to hear him speak. Attendance at the Open Day is free and should encourage dairy enthusiasts from all over Ireland to make the trip North.

I have been working with livestock all my life and thought I knew something about cow behaviour before I heard him speak. He comes at the challenge of cow management from a very new and refreshing perspective. He claims – and rightly so – that are cows are talking to us every minute of the day. However, on most farms, insufficient time is taken to work out what they are actually telling us.

In essence Martin Kavanagh really is Dr Doolittle – only with a lot of added class.