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2019/2020 CalfCare Events Launched

A series of fourteen CalfCare events will take place in December 2019 and January 2020. As in previous years, Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland are teaming up to organise these on-farm events, with the dairy milk processors Arrabawn, Aurivo, Carbery, Centenary Thurles, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Lakeland Dairies, North Cork Creameries, Tipperary Co-op and supported by Volac.

The number of calves born on Irish dairy farms has increased by almost 400,000 over the past decade to an estimated 1.4 million in 2019.  In addition improving dairy herd fertility is resulting in a more concentrated calving season. 

David Graham, CEO, Animal Health Ireland said: “AHI is delighted to be working in partnership with Teagasc and the ten Dairy Coops involved in the running of these CalfCare events, which serve to support and educate farmers by providing them with current information and advice, ensuring the best possible outcomes for the next calf rearing season.  This is the ninth year of organising these events, highlighting our commitment to continued work on calf health and welfare. I would sincerely like to thank all the host farmers for agreeing to host the events on their farms.  Without their cooperation and assistance, it would not be possible to hold these events.”

According to Dr. Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer Teagasc, “While the number of calves born on dairy farms has increased by almost 40 per cent since 2011, calf mortality, while variable, has declined from 3.71% to an estimated 3.20% in 2019”.

Speaking at the launch of the events, George Ramsbottom, Teagasc dairy specialist said; “Our research shows that well-reared calves are more productive and profitable during their lifetime.  Management of calves is improving as evidenced by declining mortality and an increasing proportion of replacement heifers calving at a younger age.  However, there is no room for complacency as only 64% of the dairy replacements born in 2014 calved at two years of age and one in five never calved.  So, further improvement in the standard of calf rearing is essential”. 

Una Hickey of Volac who are supporting the events said, “We are delighted to support the events for the sixth year in a row.  They serve as a timely reminder to farmers of the important things to do around calving time.  Interest in the events has been huge with the events attracting almost 9,500 farmers since they began.” 

Each of the events will focus on four topics:

  • Calf welfare and wellbeing – including disbudding and castration;
  • Options for using existing accommodation and temporary housing for calves next spring;
  • Calf feeding systems from birth to weaning;
  • What does a dairy farmer need to do to attract a buyer for their calves?

All fourteen events start at 11.00am and will take place at the following venues and dates:

10th December Lakeland Dairies/ Glanbia Eamon McEnteggart, Hollow House, Castlering, Knockbridge, Co. Louth. A91 YW99
16th December  Carbery Shinagh Estates Dairy Farm, Shinagh, Bandon, Co. Cork. P72 X050 
8th January  Lakeland Dairies/ Glanbia  Alan Reid, Kilalee, Castlegeoghegan, Co. Westmeath. N91 F584 
9th January  Glanbia  Richard Mahony, Shangan, Shinganagh, Butlerstown, Co. Waterford. X91 V4DW
10th January  Glanbia  Michael & Joseph Breen, Tinnashrule, Ferns, Co. Wexford. Y21 FY56
13th January  Glanbia  Brendan Joyce, The Glen, The Islands, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny E41 TR68
14th January  Kerry Agri Business/ North Cork Co-Operative Creameries    Martin & Kevin Kennelly, Kilbaha, Moyvane, Listowel, Co. Kerry. V31 KD91
15th January  Dairygold   Donal Cott, Knockane, Donoughmore, Co. Cork. P32 FX90
16th January  Kerry Agri Business/ North Cork Co-Operative Creameries   Michael O'Regan, Glouicomane, Freemount, Co. Cork. P56 K729
17th January  Dairygold   Sean Mohers, Croughmore Lower, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork P67 FP93
20th January  Aurivo  Tomas Murphy & Gary Shaw, Casheltourly, Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. F35 ND92
21st January  Tipperary Coop  Garrett & Jimmy O'Brien, Knockgorman, Donohill, Co. Tipperary. E34 X462
22nd January  Centenary Thurles  Gerard & Philip Geehan, Crannagh, Castleiney, Templemore, Co. Tipperary.  E41 VN30
23rd January  Arrabawn  Gerard Armstrong, Caherwilder, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway. H91 TP84