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Teagasc National Dairy Conference

Dairygold co-op expects milk supply to increase by 57%, or an extra 540 million litres of milk, by 2020 from the 2011 base. Speaking at the Teagasc National Dairy Conference in Limerick, today, Tuesday, 12 November
Jim Woulfe, Chief Executive of Dairygold said that there are now 504 days to go before milk quotas are ending. Dairygold are investing to ensure they have the capacity to process this additional milk and have committed to accepting all extra milk produced by their suppliers in their catchment area.”

Jim Woulfe said that there was a favourable outlook for dairying. He said that the Irish Dairy Board price for dairy products is expected to average at the equivalent of 37.5 cent per litre for 2013, the highest ever average price paid. He said that the weighted average over the last seven years was 31.5 cent per litre. However he warned that weather can have a major impact on milk production and dairy markets. “We have seen a drought in the US in 2012, Argentina had floods early this year, there has been a drought in New Zealand and we had a late cold spring in EU. These weather events curtailed supply and lifted demand. “

Addressing the 500 dairy farmers attending the conference, Tom O Dwyer, Teagasc Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer said: “You have to get better before you get bigger. We need to be very careful about the amount of money we invest. Irish dairy farmers cannot afford higher costs, poor investments and unnecessary debts.” Tom O Dwyer said that he expects that a typical family dairy farmer in 2020 will have 100 cows, farming 50 hectares and be a one-man unit.

Dermot O Connor, a 30-year old dairy farmer from Shannagolden in County Limerick, spoke about how he has increased dairy cow numbers from 64 to 96. In his business plan he expects to increase to 150 cows by 2015. He has increased grass production from 8.9 tonnes of grass Dry Matter to 10.9 tonnes this year and wants to increase this further to 14 tonnes of grass DM by 2015. To achieve this level of grass production, he has soil sampled the entire farm and with his Teagasc adviser Joe Kelleher he has developed a fertiliser plan to increase the soil fertility over the coming years. The EBI of his herd has increased from 28 when he started farming, to 160 for his latest crop of replacement heifer calves.

The Teagasc National Dairy Conference moves to Cavan, tomorrow Wednesday, 13 November. The conference proceedings are available at www.teagasc.ie