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Thinking of becoming a Dairy farmer?

"Converting to dairy involves a major commitment and sizeable capital outlay...therefore you need to be sure you are making the right decisions." In September the Teagasc Dairy Start-up course commences for farmers interested in converting their farm to milk production. Find out more here

The course will involve visits to the Teagasc Moorepark research centre and farms that have recently converted to dairying, as well as the opportunity to engage with leading Teagasc dairy experts.

Download the Dairy Start Up Course 2021 Flyer (PDF)

About the course

This course is designed to help you plan and implement your farm conversion in a way that will reduce mistakes that will impact on profitability and sustainability. Up to date research will be used throughout the course to steer you in the direction of profitability and a sustainable work life balance. The course will be practical and interesting, mixing both the principles for successful dairying with the practical skills required for the start-up process. In summary, the purpose of this course is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skills and competence to effectively plan and carry out a successful dairy start-up.

Applications are now open for the Dairy Start Up Course.  Closing date for receipt of expressions of interest is 1 August 2021

In this short video, 2019 dairy start up course participants, Willie & Eanna Galvin who converted from a beef, sheep & tillage enterprise and Fergal & Sylvia Daly who converted from a calf to beef enterprise tell us their experience from the course.

Course Structure

The course will be offered in two parts. The first part is a series of seven training days, comprising of four days in autumn 2021, followed by three days in autumn the following year. Between the initial four days in 2021 and the three days in 2022, participants will have a unique opportunity to participate in an academy, where the group will meet monthly from February to November (10 meetings) for one year.

Course Content

The first 4 days of the course will cover (Autumn 2021):

  • Animal breeding
  • Farmyard design
  • Grazing infrastructure
  • Cost of converting your farm to dairy milk production
  • Expected costs and returns from milk production
  • Reseeding
  • Animal health & biosecurity

Day 5 of the course will cover (Autumn 2022)

  • Milking machine design & wash routine
  • Milking routine
  • Milk quality

Day 6 of the course will cover (Spring 2022) Optional

  • Robotic milking costs and design
  • Grazing infrastructure for robotics

Day 7 of the course will cover (December 2022)

  • Lean dairy farming
  • Sustainable dairy production

Participants will develop a portfolio and worksheets during the course which will assist their decision making during the conversion phase.  The 10 academy meetings will focus on grassland and breeding management decisions over the course of one calendar year.

A detailed course outline is available to download here: Download the Dairy Start Up Course 2021 Flyer

Course Benefits

On successful completion of the course, participants will have gained valuable knowledge and skills to assist with the establishment of a successful dairy farm. This course is a must for all farmers who are considering converting to dairy farming and existing farmers who want to up skill themselves on how to improve farm profitability and lifestyle. An additional benefit is that successful participants will receive a QQI Specific Purpose award in Farm Expansion Planning 6S2745

Course Location

Courses will be held in the Midlands and the South East.  Please indicate on the application form which location would be more suitable for you to attend. 

Course Fees

The cost of the course is €750 (€600 for Teagasc clients) per participant.

Expression of interest

Applications are now open for the Dairy Start Up Course.  Closing date for receipt of expressions of interest is 1 August 2021. 

We aim to offer Dairy Start up courses on an annual basis at a number of regional venues. The exact location will depend on the demand for a Dairy Start-up course, with a suitable location being chosen for all persons interested in this course. We will do our utmost to centralise courses.

Teagasc Dairy specialist Patrick Gowing talked to Catherine Egan on a previous episode of the Beef Edge podcast to discuss the Teagasc Dairy Start-Up course. Have a listen here

In the podcast Patrick discussed the importance of selecting the right cow type, parlour, infrastructure and capital budget. 

If you want to learn more about this topic read A Step by Step Guide to Setting up a New Dairy Farm (PDF)  or contact your local Teagasc Advisor. You can contact any of our Teagasc offices using this link Teagasc Advisory Regions here