Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Teagasc dairy event to keep you up to date

Tom O'Dwyer

Keeping up to date with the latest ideas, research findings and market outlook is vital for success in business. Every opportunity to top-up our knowledge reservoir should be taken if our businesses are to flourish and prosper.

Attendance at this year's Teagasc National Dairy Conference will provide an opportunity to inform yourself on several important issues.

This year's conferences take place at two venues on successive dates. The first conference is on Wednesday, November 17, at Charleville Park Hotel, Charleville, Co Cork, and is followed by a second conference on the following day, Thursday, November 18, at Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

The Food Harvest 2020 Report concludes that "the most compelling picture that emerges of the decade ahead is one of opportunity". Increased global demand for milk and milk products, coupled with the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015, presents a real opportunity for the Irish dairy sector. Analysis suggests that a 50pc increase in milk production is achievable by 2020. But changes are required by all in the dairy industry if this ambitious target is to be met.

The morning session of the conference opens with Marina Rabello, who is part of the Rabobank global team of dairy analysts based in Holland. She will outline the recent developments in supply, trade and demand for dairy products and, most importantly, give Rabobank's view on the impact of these developments on Irish milk price.

Poor animal health is costing the Irish dairy industry. A new initiative will be launched at the conference by Animal Health Ireland and Teagasc, with support from several dairy industry stakeholders, to tackle milk quality issues, especially somatic cell count.


Australia has developed a national, industry-led programme to tackle mastitis and milk quality called Countdown Downunder, and Pauline Brightling and John Penry, who have played leading roles in this programme, will speak at this year's conference.

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This will be followed by a panel discussion involving Ms Brightling, Teagasc's Finola McCoy and four others -- a dairy farmer, AHI representative, milk processor representative and a veterinary surgeon -- who have an interest in milk quality issues.

The number of dairy farmers involved in discussion groups has doubled since the launch of the Dairy Efficiency Programme earlier this year.

Teagasc's Thia Hennessy will outline her latest research showing how membership of such groups leads to increased rates of technology adoption and improved profit levels.

Teagasc dairy advisers Stuart Childs and Patrick Gowing, supported by several dairy farmer discussion group members, will highlight the strategies which will allow you to get the most from your discussion group next year.

The latest technologies in the areas of soil fertility, grassland, replacement heifer rearing and animal health will be highlighted in the final session. Proven technologies must be more widely adopted if you are to get a fair return on your investment and management inputs.

Those interested in attending can book your place for either conference by contacting Catriona Twohig on or 029 60220 if you wish to attend on November 17.

For the second conference, contact Celine Delaney on or 057 916 9400.

Further details, and booking forms are available on Teagasc's website,

Irish Independent