Treetops Farm – a growing success story

2nd April 2011

Fane Valley Feeds are at the heart of a development programme, currently driving forward one of Co Londonderry’s most progressive dairy farming businesses. Treetops Farm is located on the outskirts of Claudy. It is home to 420 cows, managed by Roy McCrea and his sons Richard and Mark.

“Over the past number of years we have invested heavily in developing the infrastructure of the farm. This has included installing a 50 point rotary milking parlour. The cows are currently averaging around 7,500 litres at 3.99% butterfat and 3.34% protein. Our aim is to push output per cow up to 8,000 litres and with the extra heifers coming through we should have overall cow numbers at 500 within the foreseeable future.” Explained Roy.

He continued:

“The fresh calvers are kept indoors to ensure they reach and maintain peak yields. However, we aim to produce as much milk as possible form grazed grass.”

Realising these objectives will be secured on the back of advice from: Fane Valley Feeds nutritionist Dr Hazel Gilmore.

“The current TMR supplies maintenance plus 30 litres and cows are then topped up in the parlour feeding to yield to maintain both production and condition, eliminating negative energy balance which can have detrimental effects on both fertility and health” explains Hazel.

“Both silages are regularly assessed so as to ensure that the concentrates offered fully complement the forage component of the ration. All the concentrates are manufactured at the new Fane Valley Feeds’ mill in Omagh.

“Despite the continuing pressure on all input costs, the milk to feed price ratio in Northern Ireland remains very positive. As a result, there is an opportunity for farmers to feed cows well and, as a consequence produce more milk per cow.”

Hazel concluded:

“The McCrea family are building the future of their business on a very important principle: putting the needs of the cows first at all times. At Fane Valley Feeds we are delighted to be part of this initiative and would welcome the opportunity of working on such a basis with dairy farmers across Northern Ireland.”