Cork West Advisory Region
On behalf of Teagasc, I would like to welcome you to the Cork West Section of the Teagasc website. This section gives you up to date information on our Region; including our staff, our Advisory Programmes and Services, and our Advisory and Educational courses and public events. It also has links to other sites within Teagasc.
Download the Cork West (pdf) 2021 regional review
Farming in the Region
The Cork West Region is a diverse geographic region; lowlands and mixed farming systems dominate the eastern half of the Region, while hills, mountains, peninsulas and islands are common landscape features in the west of the Region. It is renowned for its excellent food production. Cattle, sheep and mixed farming are the predominant enterprises with over 3,860 farmers involved. West Cork is well known for its excellent dairy farming with almost 1,900 dairy farmers supplying Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh, Lisavaird and Dairygold co-ops. The region in general including the peninsulas and Islands to the west is home to diverse communities, where tourism, fishing and service industries combine to subsidise the income of many part-time drystock farms. Tillage farming is also a significant enterprise in the greater Bandon/Kinsale areas.
Sustainable farming practices in terms of reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment are a major focus of our advisory programme. Food quality assurance is also high on the agenda of our programmes to help farmers to produce the best quality food demanded by the marketplace. Through our major programmes: Business and Technology; Environment; Rural Development; and Adult Education and Training, we provide a comprehensive range of advisory and education services. We are committed to developing technically efficient and sustainable farm enterprises for all farmers in the region and we believe there is something to enhance every farmer’s business in our programme, regardless of enterprise, scale, age or gender. Our Business and Technology (B&T) Advisors cater for Dairy, Cattle, Sheep and Tillage farmers. We also have a forestry and horticulture advisor available to farmers in the region.
Services to contracted clients are delivered through unlimited office/phone consultations, farm visits, farm walks, open days, discussion groups, Today’s Farm magazine, seminars, conferences and a range of other events. TResearch is Teagasc’s research and innovation magazine and is available to Teagasc clients in your local office with updates on current research projects taking place in our various research centres. Our competitive advisory and service fees are published annually with no hidden charges.
Our technical newsletters are sent to all our clients on a monthly basis. These cover dairy, beef, sheep and tillage every month, with additional newsletters covering areas such as forestry, farm management, rural development and the environment. Newsletters are written by our expert specialist core to provide you with excellent advice, taking account of the up-to-date research, conditions and latest events. Successful commercial farms in the future will increasingly depend on implementing and adapting cutting-edge technology to remain competitive.
Listen to our expert local advisors on Saturday mornings on C103 FM farming programme and also read our weekly article in the farming pages of the Southern Star. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at Teagasc Cork West. Check out our technical videos recorded by our advisors on our Teagasc Cork West YouTube channel.
All farmers in the region are encouraged to and are very welcome to attend our public events such as seminars, farm walks and open days across all enterprises during the year. These events are advertised in local papers, radio and social media.
We encourage all farmers in the region to join our excellent discussion groups in dairy, beef and sheep. These groups are a social and fun way to learn from your advisors and other farmers on a monthly basis.
Our dairy team consists of 11 high calibre dairy advisors based across our three offices in West Cork. Two of these advisors coordinate the joint programmes with Carbery and Dairygold. The dairy team provides advisory support to over 1,200 dairy clients and also facilitates in excess of 28 discussion groups. Activities include consultations, farm visits, monthly discussion group meetings, farm walks, public events on monitor farms and milk quality promotion and events.
The Cork West unit has a major joint programme with locally based Carbery Milk Products and strong links with its four constituent Co-ops. There are currently 10 monitor farmers and 18 discussion groups in the programme. Public events are targeted at all dairy farmers in the region. The Teagasc/Dairygold joint programme in West Cork consists of three Demonstration Farms, a soil fertility farm and 10 discussion groups for Dairygold suppliers facilitated by our dairy team.
Our drystock team is made up of 6 excellent beef and sheep advisors, two of whom, also have roles in the soils and environment programme. Our drystock team focus on increasing the kgs of beef and lamb sold from the farm by improving technical efficiency and management. The team also focus on maximising the contribution of the farm asset to the household income through improved efficiency, scheme participation and the development of new and alternative income sources such as artisan food and agri-tourism enterprises. The team facilitates 20 beef discussion groups, 5 specialist sheep groups and a contract heifer rearing group in the region.
Water quality is a key focus of our programme in West Cork and we have one dedicated advisor to the ASSAP programme to work with all farmers in the 15 designated catchments in the region. This is done in collaboration with industry stakeholders such as local co-operatives and LAWPRO.
We have one tillage advisor who is available to provide key technical advice on cereals, root and forage crops to the 200 specialist tillage farmers in the region. He also facilitates a tillage discussion group in the region.
Economic viability and sustainability of farms is one of our key priorities. Farm financial management is a clear focus of all events and with discussion groups. The Teagasc eProfit Monitor is available to all Teagasc clients and we encourage all farmers to complete an annual profit monitor. It gives and in-depth analysis of farm performance that cannot otherwise be got from farm tax accounts. It does this by linking the technical performance on the farm with the financial performance. It is promoted widely among clients and specific advice is tailored to the clients’ situation, following the annual analysis.
Milk, Beef and Lamb that is produced from grazed grass is our main competitive advantage and is what consumers are willing to pay higher prices for. PastureBase is a new online grassland management tool to help farmers to maximise the use of grazed grass in their system. Our advisors are available to support any farmer who wishes to get up and running using PastureBase.
In conjunction with Clonakilty Agricultural College, Agricultural Education is one of our major activities within the Teagasc Region of Cork West. Our Education Officers deliver part-time QQI Level 5 and 6 courses from our training centres in Macroom, Skibbereen and Clonakilty Agricultural College. We offer a well-structured part-time option to students who work full-time. Our Education staff are also qualified Health and Safety trainers for TAMSII and provide short courses to meet the scheme requirements.
Schemes and services support is provided by all our Advisors to farmers applying for Basic Payment Scheme, ANC, REAP, Sheep Welfare Scheme, Nitrates Derogation, TAMSII, GLAS, BEEP S, BGDP, Hen Harrier, Pearl Mussel and any other schemes that arise. Our Regional Manager is one of Ireland leading experts in the formation of Farm Partnerships having held the position of Farm Business Structures Specialist for a number of years. We also offer this service to guide farmers through the process of forming a successful registered farm partnership.
Working with other professional bodies in the region such as co-operatives, marts, solicitors, accountants, banks and other service providers is critical to enable engagement with all farmers in the region.
On behalf of the Teagasc Staff in Cork West, I encourage all farmers to strive for efficiency in their chosen enterprises. Ensure the food coming from your farms is of the highest quality and keep food safety and traceability to the fore continuously. Farming must deliver incomes for the farm family and farming must continue to contribute to the local community.
For a full list of all the Services which Teagasc Advisory provides, please see this site or contact us for our Advisory Services brochure.
Farmers in Cork West can avail of these programmes by contacting me or any of my colleagues.