Darragh McCullough: Moorepark's infectious optimism
The enthusiasm was palpable at the Teagasc headquarters in Moorepark last week.
Estimates of attendance at the dairy open day varied from the conservative 7,000 to the exuberant 10,000. But one thing was clear – the dairy sector has the self-belief that it is going places in a hurry.
The number of bright pink faces by the end of the day was evidence enough of the glorious weather. The recent good spell has allowed farmers to get back on schedule with work for the first time in many months.
With decent pits of first-cut silage on most farms, and milk and beef prices near record highs, farmers were in the humour to relax for a day out.
They were also able to benefit from the vast array of cutting-edge research from what is probably one of the most focused farm advisory research organisations in the world right now.
Dairy farmers often take for granted the fact that many of the brightest and most motivated agricultural researchers in the country gravitate towards their sector. It is the envy of farmers not only in other less significant sectors, but also farmers in many other countries.
The industry has realised that in order to cope with the expansion planned from 2015, it will need to attract high quality into the sector.
Hence, an array of young, successful and highly motivated individuals that have carved out careers for themselves milking cows was presented to hundreds of farmers last Wednesday afternoon.