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Teagasc / Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd. (GIIL)

Joint Farm Development Programme 2014 – 2017

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Key Priorities for the Development of a New Dairy Unit - Eamonn & Darren Healy

Eamonn and Darren Healy from Wicklow are in a farmer-son partnership together and recently built a new cubicle shed and parlour in order to allow them to expand from 180 to 300 cows. Watch their story here

Context:

The period covered by this Joint Programme will be an exciting time for GILL milk suppliers. For the first time in over thirty years, dairy farmers will have the freedom to produce milk without the constraints of the EU Milk Quota system. The family dairy farm will continue to be central to sustainable milk production. Despite the freedom to produce milk, it remains absolutely vital that Teagasc and GIIL continue to advocate for and promote sustainable milk production. Expansion will cost money and it is vital that dairy farmers focus on grassland production and utilisation, improved herd fertility and cost control.

Coping with expansion will be challenging. Dairy farmers will require the knowledge and support to enable them to make the necessary changes for a profitable and sustainable future.

It is within this context that a Joint Programme between Teagasc and GIIL has been agreed.

Purpose:

The overall purpose of this Joint Programme is to ensure that GIIL suppliers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to sustainably and profitably develop their dairy farm businesses, following quota removal in April 2015.

Objectives:

This Joint Programme has six objectives:

  • Improved cost control and farm profitability achieved through better financial and business management skills
  • Increased grass growth with maximised forage usage
  • Improved herd fertility leading to optimised calving pattern
  • Increased milk solids production per cow and per hectare
  • Improved milk quality to meet more challenging market requirements
  • Maximised compliance with the Open Source Sustainability standard

How will the programme deliver on these objectives?

i. Teagasc Dairy Advisers and GIIL Farm Development Managers

A team of 28 dedicated Teagasc Dairy Advisers will deliver this Joint Programme primarily through a network of discussion groups but also including one-to-one consultations, farm visits and other knowledge transfer events i.e. farm walks, seminars, workshops and newsletters. Nine GIIL Farm Development Managers will support the delivery of the Joint Programme and participate in events as requested.

ii. Discussion Groups

There are currently over 1,700 GIIL suppliers participating in 108 discussion groups. These groups are facilitated by 28 Teagasc Advisers in 11 counties. Membership of a discussion group provides dairy farmers with the knowledge, skills and support required to adopt proven technologies and to trial newer technologies on their farms.

The target of this programme is to (1) retain this number of GIIL suppliers in discussion groups; and (2) increase the rate of practice adoption of research proven practices by discussion group members. Advisers will be trained on a monthly basis to ensure effective delivery of relevant messages and training for group chairpersons will be organised two times during the three years.

George Ramsbottom will lead this part of the Joint Programme.