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Teagasc/Lakeland Dairies Joint Development Programme

The impending abolition of EU milk quotas represents a major opportunity for growth of the agri-economy in the North East region.

The impending abolition of EU milk quotas represents a major opportunity for growth of the agri-economy in the North East region.

Lakeland Dairies have estimated a 40% potential increase in milk production from its current base of approximately 1700 milk suppliers.This scope for expansion also brings significant challenges however, particularly in relation to technical efficiency, financial planning and labour sustainability. It is imperative that dairy farmers in the region are equipped with the required knowledge and skills before proceeding with significant milk production expansion.

In this context, Lakeland Dairies and Teagasc launched a joint technical advisory programme to deliver key messages to suppliers.

The programme aims to deliver on the following objectives:

  • To increase technical efficiency of Lakeland suppliers across three key performance indicators; milk solids content, grass utilised and calving interval
  • To develop and disseminate a package for planning sustainable milk production expansion by Lakeland suppliers

The programme is staffed by 4 full-time dairy extension officers operating under a collaborative management structure under direction of an advisory steering group.


lakland-picture 

A key feature of this joint programme is a particular focus on those farmers who are not currently members of dairy discussion groups, and those operating at a mid-range of technical efficiency. To this end, a range of extension methods are being implemented to encourage wider engagement and uptake of the key messages:

  • Invited workshops on technical issues e.g. milk solids content
  • Short courses on dairy expansion
  • On-farm events and demonstrations
  • Technical newsletters
  • One-to-one farm consultations
  • Direct assistance with farm development planning