Meet dairy farmer, Pat Aherne - an unconventional convert
Irish conventional dairy farmer, Pat Aherne, (pictured left) has transformed his herd health and fertility whilst reducing antibiotic use through a wholistic approach learned over the last 10 years. He is passionate about a natural health approach to his herd of 100 dairy cows and now leads the way in Ireland as a homeopath farmer.
Pat’s journey into the wholistic world began about ten years ago when his herd suffered a major outbreak of mastitis, with sixteen cases being treated at one time, Pat was forced to explore a more unconventional approach to farming.
Amazingly he did get on top of the problem but swore that he would never subject his cows to the same level of antibiotic treatment again. He said that it was “unsustainable economically, as well as taking its toll on both man and beast.”.
Finding an alternative route to health
By a happy accident, Pat discovered homeopathy in 2010, an event that would change his life.
Within 2 years, he was so impressed with the dramatic reduction in his use of antibiotics for the cows that he began to rely more on homeopathy. The health of his herd improved so much over the years that it led to a string of milk quality awards for supplying the best quality milk to Dairygold Co-op.
Then suddenly in February 2019, the herd had another outbreak. The timing was poor for Pat who was juggling balls in other areas of his life. “I simply didn’t have enough time or energy to really focus on the situation,” said Pat, so he enlisted homeopathic vet Tom Farrington and Ainsworths Pharmacist, Tony Pinkus, for support. Pat learned it is possible, with correct management, to get through a mastitis outbreak without needing antibiotics at all. Working with both Tom and Tony he was able to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the management of such cases.
A great result with no antibiotics
Pat got the opportunity to put his experience into practice shortly after this when 8 cows came down with mastitis. Throughout he kept in close touch with his vet and kept an even closer eye on the welfare of his cows. Even the cow with the highest temperature was still giving 30 litres a day, chewing the cud peacefully and eating her cake. Alongside homeopathy, Pat employed Apple Cider Vinegar and probiotics, a bacteria called Lactobacillus to ensure good gut health for the cow. Research shows that good gut health is vital to fighting infection and Pat feels that this approach added to his success. He cares deeply about his cows and allowing them to suffer is never an option. Therefore, he was thrilled to pull his herd through this outbreak with a 100% recovery and no antibiotics.
Dramatic improvements in fertility
In December 2019, the Irish Farm Business magazine featured an article ‘Fertility, A Homeopathic Approach’ written jointly by Pat and his vet, Tom Farrington. It showed a dramatic improvement in fertility following the introduction of homeopathy to his herd.
Click below to view the figures:
Pat has been a National Co-ordinator for farm homeopathy courses in Ireland. He attended a course in the UK in 2017 and was so impressed that he worked to bring the course to Cork. There are now 25 Irish farmers and vets trained to use and understand farm homeopathy. What’s more Pat has a daily involvement with all these new homeopath farmers and vets on WhatsApp where they offer each other support and advice on keeping their livestock healthy with minimal use of conventional inputs.
Facebookers can follow Pat on his Homeopathy Dairy Farm page. We strongly recommend that you do as he regularly shares videos and pictures of his activity along with excellent interviews with vets and farmers.
Farmers like Pat safeguard our health by reducing avoidable antibiotics and other toxic inputs in our food. We are urging all farmers who follow ANY form of non-conventional approach to share their knowledge with us via our survey, so that we can start to evaluate what really works for other farmers and to showcase the potential of alternative approaches to livestock health.
About the author: The WHAg team love to showcase farmers and supporters who epitomise the ethos of ‘Whole Health’. We live and breathe this approach, which flows through us in farming, work, and family.