BETTER Dairy Farm Programme Expansion

IRELAND - The BETTER dairy farm programme is being extended with three more farms identified to demonstrate the best technologies to be adopted in a milk production expansion scenario.
calendar icon 10 December 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The Teagasc BETTER dairy farms will cover the expansion of existing family dairy farms, new entrants to dairying, and a new ‘Greenfield’ dairy farm. The allocation of milk quota for these new initiatives was announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith in County Kilkenny yesterday.

The predominant model for expansion in milk in the years ahead will be from existing family-run dairy units. Two commercial family-owned farms have been selected. The first is a typical family dairy farm, located in the foothills of the Knockmealdown Mountains, with 65 cows. Daniel O’Donnell is in his early thirties and wants to expand to 100 cows. The second BETTER dairy farm is near Carrick-on-Suir in south Tipperary, currently with 110 cows and exiting beef production. James Walsh plans to expand to 200 cows. Over the next five years Teagasc will provide intensive technical support to these two farm families, as they implement an agreed five-year business plan.

Some of the additional milk quota allocated to Ireland as part of the CAP ‘Health Check’ will allow new entrants to dairy farming. Earlier this autumn, 70 new entrants to dairying were allocated a milk quota of 200,000 litres under the New Entrants Scheme, by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. These successful applicants are required to attend training facilitated by Teagasc which involves a two-day course, followed by a one-day course every six months thereafter.

A new Greenfield dairy unit is being established in County Kilkenny. Glanbia, the Agricultural Trust and the farm owners, the Phelan family, have formed a new limited company which will lease the 117 hectare farm from the land owners for at least a 15-year period. On this Greenfield site, a new low-cost dairy unit of 250 cows is being established, funded equally by the three partners in the company, with the support of AIB. A full-time farm manager will run the operation. Teagasc researchers will provide support to the project which will include business planning and intensive technical support and Teagasc advisers will use the farm extensively as a hub to disseminate information and transfer knowledge, for the benefit of all dairy farmers. Teagasc dairy business and technology advisers will visit the farm on 15 December. The 70 new entrants to dairy production will visit the farm this week and an open day for all interested farmers to visit the farm will take place early in the New Year; on Tuesday, 19 January, farmers from Leinster are invited and farmers from the remainder of the country on Wednesday, 20 January.

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