Dairy Farmers Flow to Teagasc Dairy open day in Moorepark county Cork.
With the dairy sector overseeing significant expansion over the past three years, rural areas and the agricultural sector have benefitted economically or so Gerry Boyle of Teagasc said today.
The event was held today, sponsored by FBD insurance, and was attended by people in their strong numbers.
The theme for the open day was the adoption of Resillient Technologies in the dairy sector and how it can fuel further expansion.
There was an open day forum held in the afternoon with two seperate panel discussions taking place, focusing on the key issues facing the dairy sector over the next decade.
The first discussion was based on Brexit and Irish Dairying, which was discussed in length by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Professor Colm McCarthy UCD, Professor Gerry Boyle of Teagasc and Mr Kevin Lane of Ornua.
This was followed by a discussion on dairy farming as a career and how attractive it is as one. This discussion was fronted by Padraig Walshe, former IFA president, and numerous dairy farmers such as Mr. Billy Curtin, Ms Ann Moore, Ms Gillian O'Sullivan and Mr David Kerr.
Dairy farmers also received a free handbook on the day, which offered advice on the principals on good safe dairy farm infrastructures, quality milk production from healthy animals, sustainable management practices, labour efficiency, along with an economic and environmental perspective.
Professor Gerry Boyle of Teagasc spoke of how abolished milk quota prices have overseen productivity gains for dairy farmers. He did call for the further focus on these resillient technologies which have helped immensely when applied. He said this is especially true in relation to animal breeding and grassland management.
Minister Creed, also in attendance, spoke of the positives within the sector currently and again called for the increased use of these technologies to further improve the industry.
He added that the grassland utilisation benefits were well demonstrated at the open day.
Pat Dillon, who is the Head of the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation programme, spoke of the number of challenges facing the dairy sector. These he said included price volatiliy, shortage of available skilled labourers, and the requirement to increase sustainability and Brexit.
He added that it is "important that dairy farmers adopt Resilient Technologies to insulate against these challenges. Resilient Technologies that support seasonal pasture-based sustainable systems such as increasing grass utilisation per hectare; high EBI genetics; minimising pressure on the environment; labour efficient practices at farm level and producing milk of the highest standard of quality and nutritional value. Additionally, the farm business must remain resilient in terms of debt level, where all investment decisions are based on a comprehensive business plan and budget.”
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said of the handbook , “This handbook is an important guide for dairy farmers, as they consider expanding their dairy enterprises, improving their efficiency, or converting from a greenfield site. The important areas such as grazing infrastructure, milking facilities, milk cooling, water and energy efficiency, land drainage design and installation, along with incorporating biodiversity, are all covered. Grazing infrastructure in relation to roadways, paddock layout and water systems will be important in terms of overall herd performance as it can allow more days at grass and therefore greater profitability.”
The new ‘Dairy Farm Infrastructure Handbook’, is published on www.teagasc.ie and is available from Teagasc and from Ulster Bank.
Check out some of the footage recorde of the open day by the thatsfarming team here at https://www.facebook.com/Thatsfarming/videos/1509604972431167/