Business Farming

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Grassland Association getting back to basics

Declan O'Brien

Published 19/12/2012 | 06:00

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The Irish Grassland Association (IGA) is promising a return to basics for this year's dairy conference which takes place in the Clonmel Park Hotel on January 8.

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The conference will focus on the importance of grass, soil fertility and cow fertility and will feature a top class team of speakers.

Growing quality grass swards will dominate proceedings in the first session of the conference. Dr Mary McEvoy of Teagasc Moorepark will outline how the Grass Selection Index will be used to assist in the decision making required around cultivar selection in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Dermot Grogan of the Department of Agriculture will outline how various grasses are evaluated for use.

Key to growing grass on farm is soil fertility and maximising soil fertility will be discussed in the second of the morning sessions.

Stan Lalor, Teagasc Johnstown Castle, will outline the investment required to achieve optimum soil fertility and the return that can be expected from this investment. Aidan Brennan, Teagasc Moorepark, will share his thoughts on managing soil fertility to grow 18t DM/ha.

Dairy cow fertility continues to play a key role in the sustainability of dairy production systems and the first of the afternoon sessions in Clonmel will focus on achieving good milk production while maintaining high fertility on farm. Teagasc's George Ramsbottom will show how "optimising fertility will increase production significantly and therefore profit" on holdings.

Later in the afternoon Welsh dairy farmer Rhys Williams will present a paper on expansion through multiple units which could be an option for Irish dairy farms.

From Cefnamwlch, Tudweiliog in north Wales, Rhys has grown his farm from a 10ac unit to being a 50:50 partner on a 1,400-cow operation on rented land.

Admission costs €40 for IGA members and €80 for non-members.

For more check www.irishgrassland.com or call Maura on 087 962 6483.

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