All classes in the school went to visit Hilltop Dairies on the 27th of April to see a working dairy farm. Pupils in the infant classroom made their own butter recently and so it was a great chance to see where our milk comes from. Ed, Jennifer, Aaron, Dawn & Jimmy welcomed us to their farm and gave us a full guided tour answering our many questions.
Ed milked cows for us and explained that they have once a day milking on their farm. Cows that are milked twice a day will produce on average 23 litres of milk per day and with once a day milking, cows produce on average 20 litres of milk. These dairy cows eat on average 14 kilos of dry matter grass per day with grass being the best feed for dairy cows. Ed explained that they measure grass growth regularly and that are climate is ideally suited to growing grass with all the rain but the past winter has been particularly long and difficult.
Milk from Hilltop Dairies is collected by Arivo and brought to the Arivo plant in Ballgahderreen where much of milk produced by farmers is manufactured into dry powder milk for export. Approximately only 10% is for liquid milk sale into shops nationwide.
The 10 day old calves were very popular with all the pupils and before we left Jennifer gave us all small cartons of milk for lunch and a little milk chocolate bar as an after lunch treat! We learned plenty about dairy farming on our trip and have a greater appreciation of where our milk comes from. Thank you to the Payne family for a great visit to their farm.