€1m plan to deliver milk dividend

BILL BROWNE

Published 10/07/2014|05:26

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DAIRYGOLD is to invest €1 million in a targeted programme aimed at assisting its more than 3,000 milk suppliers to achieve profitable and sustainable expansion following the abolition of quotas next year.

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DAIRYGOLD is to invest €1 million in a targeted programme aimed at assisting its more than 3,000 milk suppliers to achieve profitable and sustainable expansion following the abolition of quotas next year.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney was in Mallow this week to launch the three-year initiative, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Teagasc - the sixth collaboration between the two bodies since 1993.

While previous programmes have addressed issues such as the conversion of pasture into milk solids and farm efficiency, the new initiative is aimed at engaging with suppliers to give them better access to new technologies and using Teagasc research to help improve milk production systems.

Under the programme the number of active farmer discussion groups will be increased for 65 to 70 and a series of workshops and special interest events held aimed at those not currently members of discussion groups.

Four 'demonstration farms' will be used to detail the expansion challenges across a variety of farm types, with six 'focus farms' being used to showcase technical aspects of efficient milk production.

Key areas covered by the focus farms will include grass growth and utilisation, replacement heifer and breeding performance, cash flow and overall farm performance.

The initiative will be supported by a dedicated website, regular newsletters, public events and supplier conferences.

Speaking during the launch at Oliver Looney's farm in Mallow, Minister Coveney said Dairygold suppliers had forecast an increase of almost 60% in milk production between 2011 and 2020.

"The Co-op has now put in place a well-resourced farm assistance programme to help ensure that Dairygold suppliers will be able to realise their expansion goals in a profitable and sustainable manner and I commend them for that," said Mr Coveney.

Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe encouraged all Dairygold suppliers to participate in the programme, which he said was focussed on delivering "real benefits" to farmers.

"The core objective of this programme is to work with Teagasc to help our suppliers not only achieve their dairy expansion ambitions but do so in a manner that is sustainable for them, their families, their herds and the Society," said Mr Woulfe.

"We also recognise that our suppliers are at various different stages of development and we have designed the programme to demonstrate a variety of expansion scenarios," he added.

Corkman

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