Five decades of Holstein Friesian excellence
The majority of cows were still hand-milked and the Irish dairy industry as we know it was still in its infancy when the Irish Holstein Friesian Association was established 50 years ago.
Five decades on, the average production of solids per cow has more than doubled during the drive towards modernisation, Peter Ging president of the IHFA noted at the Association's Golden Jubilee celebrations last week.
Mr Ging set out the progress in the now multi-billion euro dairy industry since the founding of the Irish Friesian Breeders Association in 1965 which went on to become the IHFA.
A global approach to finding a solution to the volatility in farm prices and incomes in the future was called for by Ireland's Midlands-North-West MEP Mairead McGuinness, who also addressed the gathering in the Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co Laois on Thursday night.
Ms McGuinness saluted the founders of the IHFA for having the vision 50 years ago to found the association at a time when farmers were being instructed on RTE television 'Telefis Feirme' on "how to produce clean milk".
However, she warned that a new approach on a worldwide scale will be necessary to cope with the challenges facing agriculture in the future.
Recognising that enormous progress has been made in expanding herd size and increasing production over the last five decades, she stressed that surviving in a more volatile market environment is posing a real challenge for the future.