2016 NDC & KERRYGOLD QUALITY MILK AWARDS WINNER
Tom & Moya Power (Drumhills Farm Ltd), Ballymullala, Cappagh, Co. Waterford
Nominated by: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd
“My ethos on farm is following on with what I have learned from how my father farmed – it has to be sustainable, profitable and enjoyable. As a family farm we would not be successful if we are missing one of these vital components.”
The Power farm is located in the beautiful West Waterford valley with a backdrop to the Comeragh Mountains and the Knockmealdowns. Tom and his wife Moya have two young daughters – Ella is 20 months and youngest, Chloë, is just 7 weeks. Moya works off the farm in marketing at Flahavan’s. They have welcome support on the farm from Tom’s parents Jim and Bríd. Jim, who has just turned 70, is an active cycling enthusiast who routinely cycles significant charity events such as the Dublin-Galway route or ring of Kerry.
The farm is 124 hectares with 65 hectares used for grazing. 200 cows were milked in 2015 with an average herd yield of 6,200 litres and milk supplied to Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII). His nominators from GII describe Tom as a progressive and sensible dairy farmer with a love and appreciation for his farm.
Tom is the 5th generation to farm this land and enjoys the chance to farm. “One of the key elements I took from farming alongside my parents is their emphasis on attention to detail in every aspect of farm practices,” says Tom. “Another crucial element to our farm is our helping team. Although my father, Jim, has taken a step back over the years he is still a machine to work with and an encyclopaedia of knowledge alongside my mother Breda.” Tom’s cousin Shane Flavin is also working full-time on the farm.
I believe that if you’re doing it, do it right.
“Preventative maintenance” is a big saying on this farm for everything. Tom aims to have all stock in a healthy condition with emphasis placed on vaccinating, aiming to give as much of a head start as possible to every animal on the farm.
Tom is completely focused on having clean and healthy cows on the farm at all times. He walks and trains heifers through the parlour every day during the build-up to calving as he feels this is imperative to reduce stress.
Cows are out on grass from February/March to December with an annual stocking rate for the dairy herd (ha/lu) of 34. Rotational grazing is used with a focus on maximising grass, by measuring grass and avoiding damage to pastures.
The Powers have a 20 unit milking parlour with hanging baskets of flowers to welcome you. It uses night rate electricity but also has plenty of natural lighting. All water pipes on the farm were replaced in 2011 with an investment intended to ensure good quality with no leakage. Water is metered; and water used in the plate cooler is recycled and used for wash down. The Powers have improved roadways within the farm and work to avoid poaching. Soil is tested every two years and hedgerows and natural habitats are preserved.
Tom believes in using new technologies to maximise the potential of the farm and has adopted an approach of gradual expansion. The farm has enough storage and facilities to cater for 250 cows as a result of an expansion in 2006 which planned ahead for an increase in cow numbers. Tom is looking to see what area on the farm needs attention next and intends to invest in a new cubicle house and to convert the existing cubicles into a very spacious calf house.
The Farm is registered with the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme and does milk recording. The Powers take part in a dairy discussion group called ‘Future Focus’.
POWER FARM FACTFILE
Average TBC 5
Average SCC 102