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Philip Kennedy

Walsh Fellowships

Project Title: How can agricultural extension services support Irish Dairy farms using AMS Systems?

Description:

The installation of AM (Automatic milking) units in the EU is increasing rapidly. Across Europe, 50% of newly installed milking systems are AM units (O'Brien et al., 2015). The successful integration of AM and grazing has allowed for an increase in the numbers being installed in Ireland. Farming enterprises using AM technology have proven to be successful and profitable on grass based systems (Shortall et al., 2016). The competitive advantage that Ireland has in producing low cost feed in the form of grass should allow for the industry to expand its number of AM units in the country.

Automatic milking system need a different approach as the relationship between cows, humans and technology is different to that of a conventional dairy farm. (Butler et al., 2012). The current advisory programmes are centred around conventional milking systems at present (Teagasc Dairy Manual, 2016). There is a need to quantify how agricultural extension services support Irish dairy farmers using AM units.

The aim of this study is to quantify the decision process, planning and implementation of AMS with existing and new entrant AMS farmers, along with current sources of support and information to aid the system.

Office location: Naas

Teagasc Supervisor: Patrick Gowing

UCD Supervisor: Dr. Bridget Lynch