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Is Ireland Ready for More Milk?

23 October 2012

IRELAND - The 2012 Teagasc National Dairy Conferences will take place on Tuesday, 20 November in Tralee and Wednesday, 21 November in Mullingar. The theme for the conferences is ‘Is Ireland ready for more milk?’ These Conferences will challenge farmers to reach for the opportunities which are now presented and to profitably expand their dairy farm businesses.

Speaking in advance of the conferences, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc Tom O’Dwyer said: “With a growing world population, increasing urbanisation and scarcity of natural resources for food production, there is a growing demand for food. These trends have implications for Irish dairy farmers and the wider Irish dairy industry. With April 2015 just over two years away, it is timely to ask whether Ireland is ready for the extra milk production likely to occur.”

Head of the Teagasc Animal and Grassland, Research & innovation programme, Dr Pat Dillon said: “Milk quota abolition in 2015 will lead to land becoming the new limiting factor on milk production. Grass growth and utilisation will determine farm profitability. Grass utilisation is driven by stocking rate on the milking platform. But not all farms are capable of growing the same amount of grass and carrying the same number of cows. Each farmer will have to identify the appropriate stocking rate for their farm. The weather conditions of 2012 made grassland management very difficult, especially on heavy soils. The ‘grassland management blueprint’ will have to be modified for heavy soils while adhering to the principles of good grassland management.”

The conferences will also see the launch of the Teagasc / AHI CellCheck ‘Mastitis Cost Calculator’ application. Research has quantified the cost of mastitis/ SCC to Irish dairy herds at up to €150 per cow. This tool will allow dairy farmers to identify the cost of mastitis/ SCC to their own farm as the first step in the process of tackling the problem. AHI CellCheck will also provide more details of training workshops to help farmers tackle high SCCs.

With opportunity comes risk. The risk of poor prices or bad weather, the risk of animal disease or personal injury all have to be assessed and managed. Tools are available to reduce dairy farmers’ exposure to risk; more will be developed. Papers will be presented at both conferences detailing some of the options available to dairy farmers to minimise the exposure to the risk of milk price volatility.

Stan McCarthy, CEO of the Kerry Group will deliver the key note address at the conference in Tralee while Mark Voorbergen, independent dairy consultant and formerly of Rabobank, will be the keynote speaker in Mullingar.

Pre-booking is essential for the Conference. Registration is by email to or phone to 025 42664.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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