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DAIRYMAN Demonstrates Environmentally Sustainable Dairy Farming

A group of Dutch dairy farmers and advisers are visiting Irish farmers this week (9-11 April). They are part of a Transnational Cooperation project called DAIRYMAN (Dairy Resource Management) whose aim is to study the sustainability of dairy farms in the Northwest of Europe in terms of economics, greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient use efficiency and energy use. The project is funded by INTERREG IVB North West Europe (NWE).

Farmers from seven European countries, including Ireland, share details of energy monitoring and Carbon foot printing work done on the farms as part of the Dairyman Project. The sustainability of Irish milk production systems is one of the positive elements to emerge from the study.

Dairyman emphasises the need for researchers, advisers and farmers to learn from each other. During the three day trip, the Dutch dairy farmers are visiting the Teagasc Animal and Grassland, Research and Innovation centre, Moorepark, Carbery Milk Products in Cork, Dairyman Pilot farmer John Joe Sullivan, Gurrane, Roscarberry, County Cork, the Carbery Pilot farmer Cyril Draper, Gurteenroe, Enniskeane County Cork and the Daniels family, Raheenarron, Kilmoganny, County Kilkenny.

Addressing the DAIRYMAN farmers, Prof Gerry Boyle, Teagasc director said: “Dairyman is all about driving sustainable intensification. All of the factors that drive efficiency in dairy farms also deliver positive outcomes in terms of the environment. An example of that is that on Irish dairy farms we have reduced usage of artificial nitrogen by 30% from peak in the last few years. That has had a real benefit for farmers in terms of profitability but it has also had obvious benefits in environmental terms”.

Jos de Kleijne (Dairyman pilot farmer in the Netherlands) said: “The information I get from Dairyman about farming systems in other EU countries has helped me to take decisions that will make my farm sustainable in the long term”.

Johan Dekker (Dairyman pilot farmer in the Netherlands) said: “From Irish farmers we have learned a lot about pasturing and that is a type of knowledge we had lost in the last years in Holland, where the system is based in indoor farming”.

The total DAIRYMAN budget was €9 million over four years co-funded at 50% by INTERREG NWE.

The success of the original DAIRYMAN project has now led to further spin off projects on Irish farms over the last eighteen months with the new Carbery Greener Dairy Farms project started with Carbery Group milk suppliers. Group.

The 2012 RSF project E-ruminant is another spin-off project with many of the measurements made on the 21 Dairyman farms being expanded out to 80 farms.

This week’s visit is part of the NWE on the ground campaign which aims to show how projects co-financed by the INTERREG North-West Europe Programme are improving the lives of North western citizens. INTERREG IVB NWE is a financial instrument of the European Union's Cohesion Policy. It funds projects which support transnational cooperation. The aim is to find innovative ways to make the most of territorial assets and tackle shared problems of Member States, regions and other authorities.
More information: www.nweurope.eu
Twitter: @INTERREG_NWE  #NWEontheground