Good time to join discussion
We handed out the application form for the Dairy Efficiency Programme at the discussion group meeting last week.
The group was having its annual profit monitor meeting and it was a good opportunity to get the group signed up to the programme on the night. This group has been together now for 10 years and all will qualify for the payment this year, provided, of course, that they fulfil the requirement of the scheme.
Each dairy farmer who participates in this programme as part of a dairy discussion group will receive €1,000 each year for three years. That's not an insignificant amount of money and I imagine any dairy farmer reading this will want to get his/her hands on the money.
So, what will you have to do to earn the €1,000 each year? First of all you should go to your local Teagasc office and ask for an application form for the scheme. This is a simple, straightforward document but the important point is that it must be returned to the discussion group facilitator for your group by Friday, February 19.
What have you to do to fulfil the requirements of the scheme in year one? For the purposes of this programme you will be required to attend at least eight meetings of the group this year. This will increase to nine in year two of the programme. An attendance at the Moorepark Open Day or a visit to other research farms, such as Ballyhaise, can also count as an event.
Once you decide to become involved in the programme, you must first complete a 'five-year physical plan' for your farm. Teagasc advisors have been completing these plans with their farmer clients for several years now. The plan must address each of the three key areas of the programme: grass and management, breeding and financial management.
A key area of the programme is grassland management. This will form part of most discussion group meetings. I would be surprised if your grassland management skills don't improve to the point where you are getting more milk of protein from your cows.
One feature of grassland management practices that you will be exposed to will be how to complete a summer grass wedge for your farm. A grass management plan for the autumn must also be produced.