I would have to say my biggest learning objective going into this internship was to learn management practices on a large-scale dairy. My dad and I currently milk around 90 cows with 4 units. Here, we milk around 300 cows with 20 units in a swing parlor.
Description of internship:
I start my mornings milking cows and then usually feeding the newborn calves (and sometimes the older ones as well). We then have a “family” breakfast. After breakfast, I usually clean calf pens. In the afternoon, tasks are varied, as with any farm. Usually machinery and fences need repairing, weeds need to be sprayed, or slurry needs to be spread. Since Ireland has a grazing based system, we often drive around to paddocks and check animal health and count animals, which leads to some nice sight seeing around Co. Kerry, Ireland. We also have herd checks and are in the process of cleaning out and power-washing all of the facilities. We then milk again around 5 pm.
Favorite part so far:
My favorite part is networking with others in the dairy industry. There are always new perspectives on dairy farming, and its fun to share ideas. You also meet some really great people.
Most interesting thing you have learned:
The most interesting, although maybe not necessarily useful, thing I’ve learned is actually Polish. Two of the workers here are from Poland, and I’ve been picking up a little here and there. Ida nakarmic’ cielenta.
How does this internship fit with your long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to eventually take over our family farm, so this experience has provided me with some unique insight on management practices and facilities that I can hopefully apply in the future.