Efficient farm infrastructure is key for diary expansion. This is according to Grasstec’s Bertie Troy, guest speaker of a diary conference at the Virginia Show this week.

Speaking to the packed audience of up to 120 farmers, Troy outlined Grasstec’s views on the key areas for farm efficiency. Grasstec was formed in 1997 and has since grown into one of Ireland’s leading service providers to the dairy industry.

Its range of services include GPS farm mapping, the design of infrastructure for grass-based dairy farms and farmyard design. Grasstec provides its services in Ireland, the UK, France and Russia and its products are sold throughout Europe.

Grazing infrastructure

“Farmers need to plan and plan for change…You need to know your capacity to grow grass, you need to know your future herd size, that is key,” Troy explained. Regarding roadways, he advised “the less bends the better, the quicker the cows get in” and to create “a smooth service”.

In terms of paddocks, Troy noted dairy farms have seen cow numbers increase in recent years but paddock sizes have often not changed in line with the larger herd size. This needs to be looked at, he said.

In terms of water systems and farm efficiency, he said the benefits of a loop system was very strong.


According to Troy: “Historically development of farmyards in Ireland have been piecemeal as a direct consequence of the introduction of milk quotas. Now there is a necessity to plan. Assess your facilities today and plan.”

He noted in reality on the ground many Irish farmers have old facilities in terms of milking parlours, cubicle sheds, calf rearing, calving areas and slurry facilities, which if left unchanged will hamper progress.

Troy offered simple yet keys tips too. “Milk needs to be collected at any time of the day and gates being opened and closed wastes time and time costs money. You need a farmyard where there is easy access to everything. Keep walking distances to a minimum.”

Many farmers presented asked questions. One was the recommended width of the roadway for cows. “If you have 200 cows, I would say five meters. The wider the better near the farmyard,” said Troy in reply.

In summary, Grasstec’s key message was to define your future herd size, learn from previous mistakes and plan. “Planning on paper than physically is much cheaper…The benefits of modern farm infrastructure is efficiency and a sustainable business, and in essence, more profit.”

The Grasstec presentation and trial results are available here.


Pictured (above): The Virginia Show Dairy conference under way
Pictured (main):  Bertie Troy, Grasstec