Teagasc Dairy Roadmap published at Virtual Dairy Conference

The Teagasc 2027 Sectoral Roadmap: Dairy was launched today by Liam Herlihy, Chairman of the Teagasc Authority, at the second day of the 2020 Teagasc Virtual Dairy Conference. He said; “looking to the future, it is inevitable that changes and challenges will occur, and we as dairy farmers must embrace those changes. Ireland has to meet a binding agreement to reduce Greenhouse gasses and ammonia emission, and there is an opportunity for dairy farmers to adopt new technologies to reduce emissions.  The Teagasc roadmap, launched this morning, illustrates it can be achieved. “

The Teagasc 2027 Sectoral Roadmap: Dairy can be viewed at https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2020/2027-sectoral-road-map-dairy.php.

Speaking at the Virtual Dairy Conference, Brendan Horan, Teagasc, Moorepark said that huge change was necessary in increasing sustainability as part of our contribution to climate action targets within the dairy sector. He said; “Building on the basics is the first step. This includes milking high EBI dairy cattle, practicing excellent grassland management and maintaining good soil fertility. Learning to manage with lower Nitrogen fertiliser inputs while maintaining productivity is the next step. At the Teagasc Curtin’s research farm we are evaluating grass, grass-clover and multispecies grass swards to evaluate Nitrogen losses, product quality and animal performance.”

Dr John Roche, Down to Earth Consultancy, detailed the increase observed in the size of the New Zealand dairy herd, supported principally by an increased reliance on purchased feed and winter fodder. ‘It is this increase in intensification rather than the increased stocking rate that is associated with the increased nitrogen losses through our waterways’, he said. “We are on a similar journey to that described for Ireland, with increased environmental ambitions for our dairy sector”.

Brian Rushe, Kildare dairy farmer, IFA Deputy President and Teagasc Authority member, detailed the practices that he has adopted to improve the efficiency of his dairy farming enterprise. He said; “Soil analysis indicated that pH levels were low and soil P and K indexes were sub-optimal. This has been corrected. Grass budgeting has helped us to keep grass quality right throughout the grazing season. This year we’ve grown 14 tonnes of grass dry matter per hectare and we’re happy with that. We’re on target to produce 470-480 kg milk solids per cow with a sub 10% empty rate on 700 kg of meal and we’re happy with that’, he concluded. 

The Virtual Dairy Conference continues this evening, Wednesday, with the Dairy Edge Podcast at 7pm.  Live from Teagasc Moorepark and presented by Emma Louise Coffey, The Dairy Edge will look at how one farmer has focused on achieving key efficiency targets to sustainably grow his business.

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