Keenan has launched what it says its customers are calling a ‘guardian angel’ for farmers, in the form of its InTouch feeding system.

The InTouch, which is making its first Irish appearance in Ireland at the National Ploughing Championships, is designed to give farmers the most up-to-date information on their feeding and the effects this is having.

Gerard Keenan said that the feeding of cattle, beef or dairy, is a huge cost and if farmers are only looking at milk output or weight gain, they don’t know if the feed is working. “Here there is a real support, it’s a human touch to go with the technology.”

He also said the new system can examine information being fed in from all over the world in real time and the company can, in turn, see where intervention is needed.

“The objective here is the idea that you can get more milk, and not from more concentrates, but 500-1,000L more per cow. And that’s the first step to expansion. The genetics are right, the feeding is sufficiently high now, and we can help increase the output.”

The InTouch system is a service that is based on technology link from the machine to our centre, according to Gerard. “We now have a two-way communication that is enabling the farmer to get the feed right, the right mix, mixed right. It’s an easy step-by-step approach and it also allows the farmer to have nutritional support from a distance and allow him an immediate and early modification if it’s needed.

“So, it’s not historical data, it’s up to the minute. We are bringing this into mass market relevance. It’s its first appearance in Ireland at the Ploughing Championships.

“It’s a very attractive, low-risk way to expand. You can get 500L more per cow, across the national herd.”

He said the current mood among dairy farmers is of measured expansion. “It’s not a gung-ho attitude and people are not rushing into it. They are not throwing money around loosely. There is more ambition in Ireland than we see in France and other countries. Ireland has an advantage here that we have processors saying they want the milk, but farmers are coming in to it in a considered way. They are not just going to pump in more concentrates or dramatically increase herd size.”