Aurivo Coop Milk Supplier Prefers McAree V-Mac Feed Silos

Aurivo Coop Milk Supplier Prefers McAree V-Mac Feed Silos

Miriam Gunn is a farm ambassador with the National Dairy Council’s (NDC’s) Grass Roots Movement. Miriam and her husband Michael operates one of the 17,500 family-run dairy farms in Ireland, producing liquid milk and milk used to manufacture Kerrygold butter, cheese and other dairy products. Based at Carrowglogher, near Strokestown in Co. Roscommon, the farm is home to three generations of farmers: her father-in-law, herself, Michael, and their four children Olivia, Kieran, Diarmuid and Aidan.

Miriam and Michael live on farm with his parents Kevin and Eileen-the farm has been in the family for four generations. Michaels father Kevin started milking way back with only 3 Shorthorn cows. They now milk 180 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows in their pedigree Slievebawn Herd. Average yield is around 8,000 litres at 4.13 % butterfat and 3.48 % protein. The focus is on making the most of the grass available and top quality clamp silage to feed their hungry cows and optimise milk production from home grown forage. Both Miriam and Michael are active in the IHFA West Midlands club – Miriam was a former PRO officer.

The cows are milked in a modern BouMatic 32-point internal rotary parlour the first of its kind in southern Ireland. This was purchased from ElectroMech Agri a family run business based in Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone– exclusive dealers for Boumatic across Ireland & Scotland. Cows are fed to yield in the parlour and this averages 1.5 tonnes/cow pa. To ensure best value they purchase their animal feed from Aurivo Coop through a purchasing group.

The dairy ration is stored in a 20 tonne McAree V-Mac split bin manufactured in Co. Monaghan and augured from there to the parlour. The auger was supplied & installed by Brendan Donnelly from Stradone in Co. Cavan. Kevin Gunn purchased the first McAree V-Mac silo -a 10 feed bin over 20 years ago. Since then he has also purchased three further silos –an 8 tonne, a 10 tonne silo and the 20 tonne V-Mac split bin in 2018.

One of the 10 tonne silos was sold to a neighbour and is still in use. The 20 tonne split bin silo was purchased due to the increase in herd size. They also get a discount taking bigger bulk deliveries from Aurivo Coop. The spit bin allows them to store two different rations say a higher and a lower protein dairy nut in the spring, a high or a medium energy diet or say a dry cow ration. If they are using only one dairy ration it means that they can empty out one side and fill it up with fresh feed and of course they never run out of feed as the other side is still in use. The other two feed silos are used to store calf and weanling diets.

According to Michael Gunn the reasons “we prefer the McAree silos is due to their trouble free and long life. No meal sticks in the bin and because the bottom is closed no dampness gets into the feed and auger. We always got a great service from McAree Engineering.”

According to V-Mac Sales Manager, Fergal Sherry, McAree Engineering have developed a reputation for Quality, Value, and Customer Service over the past 75 years. He says that over 15,000+ V-Mac Silos have been installed to date across Britain and Ireland. “Every single silo is custom built to our customer’s specific requirements and we have the widest range on the market. We use a unique rolled body strip of MagiZinc® in our V-Mac silo body construction which ensures a smooth inside wall helping excellent product flow and gives the feed silo super-strength construction.”

The Gunn family has won many awards over the years. They were finalists in the Origin Green Farmer Award and Aurivo Milk Supplier of the year both for 2018. They were also NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards finalists in 2019.

The Gunns make the best use of modern technology to save time and use the latest animal data available. Heat-detection collars have been a great addition to the farm says Miriam and instead of spending time watching the cows to see when they’re coming in heat, Miriam simply gets an email to alert her.

“Often, we wouldn’t even have seen any sign that a cow is in heat, but the collars have picked it up and alerted us to it. It’s hugely time-saving as well as making everything more efficient. “I have the computer in the dairy linked up to the computer in the house so I can manage everything from there,” says Miriam.

Split calving ensures that Miriam and Michael have time off with the family over Christmas. “Calving starts the last week in October and runs until the first week in December. We start calving again in mid-January and keep going until end of April.” We use sexed semen on our autumn calving heifers. The calves from cows and heifers that calve from April on go for beef. We use a Longhorn beef bull and those calves are sold on contract to Buitelaar Group who have a good market for these quality calves.”

Buitelaar source their calves from approved and monitored dairy farms, assessed on their standards of early-stage calf rearing, use of genetics, health recording and calf housing choices.

Originally a beef farmer from North Longford, Miriam moved to her husbands’ farm when she got married in 2008. Miriam is passionate about farming in a sustainable way, and during 2023 she completed the Green cert at Mountbellew Ag College-indeed she was student of the year.

On their own farm she can point towards environmentally sustainable solutions such as low-emission slurry spreading and regular soil sampling and analysis to manage fertiliser use which positively affects greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and saves the farm money as well. New initiatives such as giving all animals a carbon hoof print, which is used in breeding programmes allow for the birth of a more emissions-efficient animal, and the space for nature scheme which shows areas on the farm designated for nature.

According to Miriam “milk production is a big commitment, but we are all involved, including the kids. They love it, which is probably one of the reasons they have an appreciation for dairy farming. There are no decisions made on our farm here that don’t consider the environmental impact as a priority. Sustainability is dairy’s future, and milk producers are serious about it.”

Miriam is a founding member of Aurivo’ s women’s discussion group and hopes transparency and publicity around women in agriculture, and farming in general will inspire the next generation

Fergal Sherry , Sales Manager, McAree Engineering with proud mother Miriam Gunn , her son Kieran, father in law Kevin and husband Michael.
Photo Brian Farrell
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