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Dairy Farmers Flow to Teagasc Moorepark

Dairy farming must be sustainable from an economic, environment and from a family farm perspective. That was the message from Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle speaking at the Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Open Day in Fermoy, County Cork today, Wednesday, 1 July. Sustainable expansion is the theme for today’s event, which is sponsored by FBD Trust, and which is attracting thousands of farmers from all over the country and from abroad.

“It’s now three months since milk quotas were abolished, and although still very early, the indications are that we are going to see a significant increase in milk production over the coming years. Week on week compared to last year, national milk supply is running approximately 14% ahead. This shows how responsive the dairy industry is to availing of the opportunity and the preparation that has taken place on farms and at processing level over the last three years. It shows how technologies such as animal breeding and grassland management being applied at farm level, are fuelling this expansion, “

Speaking at the Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Open Day, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said: “Teagasc Moorepark is a vital piece of national infrastructure. Its work on grassland management and other efficiency measures at farm level is world class, and it is remarkable that on the same campus its staff is providing top class research and product development work for processors, covering almost the entire supply chain. I commend Teagasc for its work here and I welcome those who have attended today in search of knowledge and inspiration.” Minister Coveney continued; “The Government will continue to support the dairy sector and just this week, I have launched an on farm investment scheme worth €50 million to the sector, to help build the kind of on farm infrastructure needed for competitive expansion.”

Minister Coveney was joined by Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, and by Sean Sherlock TD, Minister of State at Department of Foreign Affairs.
Minister Sherlock said: “Utilising good science and sound research provides a solid base for any industry to build on, especially so in agriculture. The Teagasc science and technology on display here today for the farming sector and the food sector is an important asset for the sector to assist it to develop and expand in a sustainable way."

Dr Pat Dillon, Head of the Teagasc Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation programme, said: “The dairy sector is facing challenges, such as milk price volatility and the requirement to invest at farm level to facilitate expansion. So it’s important to have highly efficient pasture based milk production systems to help to insulate against these challenges. Farm businesses need to be efficient before considering expansion. Teagasc risk management strategy for farmers will be the development of technologies that will increase the resilience of the Irish dairy sector. Technologies that support seasonal pasture-based sustainable systems such as increasing grass utilisation per hectare; high EBI genetics; minimising pressure on the environment; producing milk of the highest standard of quality and nutritional value. The adoption of key technologies at farm level to deal with uncertainty will play a much greater role in the post quota era.”

The dairy farmer’s forum at Teagasc Moorepark’15 is focussing on opportunities for young people to develop successful careers in dairying, focusing in particular on gaining the skills and experience for dairying. Eight farmers will outline their career paths into dairy farming.

A new booklet – Stepping Stones to a Career in Dairy Farming, compiled by Teagasc with the support of Ulster Bank, was officially launched at Teagasc Moorepark ‘15 today. It shows the progression route necessary for all future dairy farmers by highlighting the essential skills and training needed to run a successful business.

Teagasc also announced details of a new Dairy Expansion Service. Patrick Gowing will lead up the delivery of this new one-to-one planning and support service. He will work with farmers undertaking significant investment on their farms with a view to creating robust development plans leading to resilient dairy businesses. He will work with the existing network of 80 Teagasc Dairy Advisers around the country, the five Teagasc Dairy Specialists and the research team to provide this service to farmers. Farmers can get further details about this new service from their local Dairy Adviser.

The Publications from today’s event are available on the Teagasc website.