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Moorepark ’23: Meeting challenges to secure a sustainable future

Moorepark ’23: Meeting challenges to secure a sustainable future

The Irish dairy industry has undergone a transformational change since the removal of the EU milk quota in 2015. Since the Irish dairy industry began to prepare for EU milk quota removal, milk solids output has increased by over 96%.

This additional output has been achieved through increases in cow numbers, milk yield per cow, fat and protein percentages, grass growth rates, stocking rates and additional land entering the dairy industry.

These achievements have occurred alongside growing environmental pressures concerning agricultural emissions (GHG and ammonia), water quality and biodiversity loss, growing food security issues associated with geo-political events, a requirement to refocus on competitiveness and people while continuing to focus on the integration of dairy and beef.

These achievements and pressures will be detailed at the upcoming Teagasc Moorepark Open Day, which takes place on July, 4th 2023. The theme of the Teagasc Moorepark ’23 Open Day is ‘Securing a Sustainable Future’, and the overall sponsor of the event is FBD Insurance, with additional support from Ornua and Allied Irish Banks.

Speaking at the launch of the open day, Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Teagasc, said: “Dairy farms and dairy farming are consistently the most profitable agricultural enterprise, as reported by the National Farm Survey.

“As we look forward, there are new challenges that will form the basis of the development of the industry. These include the challenge to reduce agricultural GHG emissions by 25% by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, increased requirements associated with the Nitrates Action Programme and a risk that the maximum stocking rate of derogation farms will be reduced, increased requirements associated with the nature restoration law, and increased welfare focus on calves originating from the dairy herd.

“These challenges must be addressed, while attracting new people into the industry and remaining competitive. The dairy industry has consistently responded in a positive manner to challenges in the past and I am sure it will face the current challenges with the same focus. Moorepark’23 will provide guidance to farm families to address these challenges.”

Topics and interactive areas

Open Day topics will include: strategies to increase all aspects of sustainability (social, environmental and economic), profitability, pasture management and nutrient use efficiency; the Signpost Programme, the DairyBeef 500 Campaign and dairy cow breeding; health and safety; and people in the dairy industry.

There will be interactive areas for skills development, discussion on the Nitrates Directive, managing farm costs, an international perspective on policy, challenges and solutions, and infrastructure on the farm. A number of topics will be discussed at the Ornua forum area, including market updates, milk quality, policy developments and people in the dairy industry.  

Teagasc Moorepark ’23 will be an informative event for those with an interest in the Irish dairy industry. A comprehensive booklet will be provided. Admission and parking is free. Gates open from 8.30am and the event closes at 5pm.

For more information visit www.teagasc.ie/moorepark23

Photo caption - Pictured at the launch of Moorepark '23 are: Liam Herlihy, Teagasc Chairman; Professor Laurence Shalloo, Teagasc Head of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme; Jeanne Kelly, Ornua; Charlie McConalogue T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Professor Frank O'Mara, Teagasc Director; Mary Dunphy, FBD; Michael Berkery, FBD; Professor Pat Dillon, Teagasc Director of Research; and Donal Whelton, AIB. Picture: O'Gorman Photography.