Kerry/Teagasc monitor farms milk composition improvement worth €16k a year

Pictured at the Kerry Agribusiness/Teagasc joint programme 25th Anniversary celebration in Awbeg, Lixnaw are Nora O'Donovan, Teagasc Adviser, Pat Murphy, Kerry Agribusiness, Sean McCarthy, Kerry Agribusiness, host Eddie McCarthy, Ger Courtney, Programme Co-ordinator, Professor Gerry Boyle, Director Teagasc & host Padraig McCarthy. Photo O'Gorman Photography.
Pictured at the Kerry Agribusiness/Teagasc joint programme 25th Anniversary celebration in Awbeg, Lixnaw are Nora O'Donovan, Teagasc Adviser, Pat Murphy, Kerry Agribusiness, Sean McCarthy, Kerry Agribusiness, host Eddie McCarthy, Ger Courtney, Programme Co-ordinator, Professor Gerry Boyle, Director Teagasc & host Padraig McCarthy. Photo O'Gorman Photography.

FarmIreland Team

Kerry Agribusiness and Teagasc celebrate 25 years of working collaboratively on the Joint Programme which commenced in 1994 and was an innovative concept of peer-led learning and knowledge transfer.  

This was the first such programme in Ireland and formed the foundation of sustainable dairy production within the Kerry Agribusiness milk supplier base.

Over the 25 year period, the Joint Programme was implemented across counties Kerry, North Cork, Limerick and Clare.  To-date, 76 Monitor farmers and their families have participated in the Joint Programme. 

The partners have said that key to the success of the Programme has been farmers, industry, advisory and research, all working together, to achieve progress on milk composition, herd genetics, nutrient and grazing management coupled with improvements in animal welfare and environmental management on farm. 

Local demonstration of these practices has ensured widespread adoption throughout the Kerry catchment area. 

Improvement in the milk composition of the Monitor Farms over the 25 years equates to an additional 5.5c/litre or €16,500 per annum for a supplier delivering 300,000 litres. 

The extended grazing and improvement in dairy EBI equates to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. 

The substantial increase in the average EBI on Monitor Farms is equivalent to €350/cow additional profit.

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The Programme supported suppliers to profitably avail of opportunities that arose following the abolition of the EU milk quota system in 2015, highlighting the importance of cost effective expansion in milk production.

Commenting on the Kerry Agribusiness/Teagasc Joint Programme, Pat Murphy, Head of Kerry Agribusiness stated that “tremendous progress had been made by the participating Monitor Farmers and by all dairy farmers in the Kerry Catchment Area over the past 25 years. 

The focus on increasing milk solids, extending the grazing season and utilising as much grass as possible, herd health and sustainable expansion had made dairy farming much more profitable and environmentally compliant in recent years.  He stated that dairy sustainability would need much focus in the coming years and that the Joint Programme would facilitate this”.

Speaking in Tralee, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle thanked the farmers and their families who participated in the Joint Programme over the years, and the staff from both Kerry Agribusiness and Teagasc who provided the leadership and technical knowledge which has made it such a success.  He said that this same level of ‘teamwork’ will be needed to meet the challenges facing dairy farmers in the future.  

Online Editors