Fermoy Teagasc open day to address sustainability within the dairy industry

‘Securing a Sustainable Future’ will be the theme of the annual Open Day taking place at the Teagasc Moorepark campus in Fermoy on Tuesday, July 4.

Few could argue that the Irish dairy industry has undergone a significant transformational change since the removal of the EU milk quota in 2015.

Since the Irish diary sector began to prepare for this milk solids output has increase by more than 96% through increased cow numbers, increased milk yield per cow, increased fat and protein percentages, increased grass growth, increased stocking rate and additional land entering the industry.

These achievements have been made despite growing environmental pressures concerning agricultural emissions, water quality and biodiversity loss, food security issues associated with geo-political events and a requirement to refocus on competitiveness and people while continuing to focus on the integration of dairy and beef.

Teagasc director, Professor Frank O’Mara, pointed out that despite these challenges, the National Farm Survey found that dairy farms and dairy farming were “consistently the most profitable agricultural enterprise.”

However, he said that looking forward there are new challenges that will form the basis of the development of the industry.

“These include the challenge to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050, increased requirements associated with the Nitrates Action Programme and a risk that the maximum stocking rate of derogation farms will be reduced, increased requirements associated with the nature restoration law and increased welfare focus on calves originating from the dairy herd,” said Professor O’Mara

“These must be addressed while attracting new people into the industry and remaining competitive. The dairy ‘industry has consistently responded in a positive manner to challenges in the past, and I am sure it will face the current challenges with the same focus. Moorepark’23 will provide guidance to farm families to address these challenges,” he added.

Key topics that will be addressed throughout the day will include strategies to increase social, environmental and economic sustainability; profitability; pasture management and nutrient use efficiency; the SignPost programme; the Dairy Beef 500 programme and dairy cow breeding; and health and safety.

There will be interactive areas for skills development, discussion on the Nitrates Directive, managing farm costs, an international perspective on policy, challenges and solutions, and infrastructure on the farm.

A number of topics will be also be discussed at the Ornua forum area including market updates, milk quality, policy developments and people in the dairy industry.

“Teagasc Moorepark ’23 will be an informative event for those with an interest in the Irish dairy industry. A comprehensive booklet will be provided and admission and parking is free,” said Professor O’Mara.

Gates open from 8.30 am and the event closes at 5 pm.

For more information about the event visit www.teagasc.ie/moorepark23.

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