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2014 Summer Visit to Dean & Jim Wright, Portadown

Event Details

  • Date: 19 Jun 2014
  • Venue: Jim and Dean Wright's Co Armagh dairy farm

Father and son team Jim and Dean Wright hosted a visit to their Co Armagh dairy farm for members of the Ulster Grassland Society on Thursday 19th June. The event was attended by over 70 members and guests who enjoyed a pleasant morning tour around the Wright farm.

The family farm 146 ha wit h180 pedigree Hol/Fr dairy cows. All stock are retained on the farm and 60-65 replacement heifers are reared each year.  Sweeper bulls are used on the herd and the male calves are finished as young bulls.  Around 800 store lambs are purchased each hyear to clean up excess swards and are off the ground by early January.  24 na of winter cereals are grown for grain and around 16 ha of spring wholecrop wheat are grown and all used on the farm.


Milk Yield (rolling herd average) – 10,800 litres (3x/day)
Milk from Forage – 2569 litres

Milk composition
Butterfat – 3.90%
Protein –  3.20%

SCC – 190

Concentrate fed – 3.70 tonnes/cow
0.34 kg / litre

Average milk price – 33.62  ppl
Margin over Concentrates – £2739/cow

Replacement rate – 18%


  • All year round calving.
  • 75 heifers to calve – 25 to be retained and remainder sold in 2014/15
  • Heifers sired by Oman sons – Iota, Junction, Legend
  • Heifers calve down at 24-28 months old.
  • Bulls currently used in herd include Iota, Shottle and Guarini.
  • Holstein semen used for 12 weeks, then beef semen
  • Calving interval 405 days (from milk recording)


Slurry and fertiliser policy

  • 2500-3000 galls/ac slurry applied by dribble-bar Feb/Mar. Considering using this system throughout year due to minimising N losses, less compaction etc.
  • 2500 galls/ac for 2nd cut
  • Soil analysis used
  • Fertiliser

Silage 1st cut – 2.5 bags/ac 26:0:6 + 10%

                        –  2nd cut  – 2 bags/ac      “            “

  • Grazing – 1 bag/ac 27% N after each rotation

  Reseeding policy

  • Soil aeration carried out as required
  • grass after wholecrop;
  • aim for 10% per year


  • High yielders housed full-time
  • Lower yielders (approx 70) grazing 6am – 11 pm



High yielding milking cow group

The herd is currently being milked 3 times per day – 6am, 2pm and 10pm

Cows are topped up in the parlour at a rate of 0.45kg/litre above 30 litres with an 18% crude protein nut in the milking parlour.

Heifers in the high group fed in the parlour above 27 litres/cow/day

TMR formulated for 30 litres

17.2% protein in TMR

Fed fresh twice a day – 6am and 2/3 pm

Current wagon mix for the high group is as follows:-

Grass silage 24
Wholecrop wheat  8.5
Blend (23% CP) 8
Wheat 1.25
Haylage 2.5
Fat 0.5
Straw 0.5



Low yield group (grazing)
Cows topped up above 17 litres per cow day at 0.45kg/litre
Current wagon mix for the low group is as follows:-


Grass silage 11.5
Wholecrop wheat  7
Blend (23% CP) 1.5

Parlour Feeding Groups

  1. Fresh/high yielding cows
  2. Stale/low yielding cows/heifers
  3. Fresh/high yielding heifers
  4. Cows/heifers for drying off

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