New programme launched to improve milk production

A TEAGASC and Dairygold Co-op programme designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of milk production in the co-op was launched in Mallow this week by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

Dairygold will invest €750,000 in the programme, which will run from 2011 to 2013. It will establish nine Dairygold demonstration farms as showcase units for the latest grassland, dairy husbandry and herd health practices. The farms will link new technology from the Teagasc dairy research centre at Moorepark. Each farm will be overseen by a Teagasc adviser, and its performance and information on successful practices will be channelled to all Dairygold milk suppliers through the co-op’s discussion group structure.

It is the fourth in a series of Dairygold/Teagasc joint programmes, in which more than 1,100 Dairygold milk suppliers have participated.

Special interest farm walks for all milk suppliers will be used to extend successful farm practices to the remaining 1,900 Dairygold milk suppliers who do not participate in discussion groups.

&Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe said: “Previous Dairygold/Teagasc prog-rammes have been hugely successful in improving dairy farming practices across our supplier base. This programme is especially significant given that the Dairygold supplier base expects to increase milk production on-farm by over 40%, following the removal of EU milk quotas in 2015.

“Dairygold is committed to supporting this ambition in every way it can, to ensure that the co-op and its suppliers can maximise the opportunities that expanded milk production offers. This programme will provide the milk production blueprints that will help our suppliers do just that.”

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Now in existence for almost 20 years, this initiative has enabled the Teagasc advisory service to provide additional staff resources to target the development of dairy farming in the Dairygold area.”

The joint programme has five main objectives:

* Improvement of grassland productivity to increase milk solids production per hectare.

* To promote earlier and more compact calving to flatten the milk production curve, thus improving efficiency.

* To help dairy farmers plan for profitable milk expansion to ensure long term viability.

* To meet future animal health standards to help expand market accessibility and secure higher value markets.

* To achieve on-farm cost efficiency to help cope with future milk price volatility.


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