Sustainability to the fore of National Dairy conference

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Teagasc

Dr Tom O’Dwyer, Teagasc Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer; Catriona McHugh and Edmond McHugh, Con Feighery, Teagasc Regional Manager and Eamon Duignan, Lakeland Dairies

Teagasc will put sustainability to the forefront as they play host to this year’s National Dairy Conference in Killarney (December 3) and Mullingar (December 5).

Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer commented, “Being a sustainable dairy farmer will involve both adopting new technologies, while also renewing the best practices of the past.

“Irish dairy farmers have never been slow about adopting research proven technologies; the challenge over the years ahead will be to adopt new technologies to make their farms more sustainable.

“So for example, Teagasc research has identified a range of measures to allow dairy farmers reduce their environmental footprint and three of these technologies will be highlighted at the conference, namely the use of protected urea, the application of slurry using low emission slurry spreading (LESS) and the incorporation of white clover into grassland swards.”

As well as featuring several Teagasc speakers, a number of dairy farmers will address the conference, highlighting how they have improved the sustainability of their farming businesses.

This includes Nuffield Scholar Karol Kissane, from Asdee, Co. Kerry, and Ciaran Kavanagh, originally from Wexford but now farming in Offaly.

Ciaran will share the story of his journey into dairy farming at the Mullingar portion of the conference.
He said, “I qualified as a farm manager and spent 19 years working on various farms, including ten years as a farm manager.

“My wife and I took the decision to become shop-keepers in 2000, due to a lack of opportunities in dairy farming at that time.

“In 2013, we managed to buy 200 acres in Offaly and we also purchased calves that summer; we commenced milk production in 2015. My wife Kathy really loves farming and we are in this together.”

The Teagasc National Dairy Conference 2019 takes place on Tuesday, December 03, in the Killarney Convention Centre, Killarney and on Thursday, December 05, in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar.

The opening address in Mullingar will be made by Con Feighery, Regional Manager, Teagasc. This will be followed by session one of the conference, Sustainability from an environmental perspective. This session will be chaired in Mullingar by Liam Herlihy, Chairman Teagasc.

Session one will focus on topics such as increasing N use, reducing emissions, protected urea, white clover, and more, featuring speakers Dr Padraig French, Dr David Wall, Dr William Burchill, Dr Brian McCarthy and Dr Deirdre Hennessy.

Session 2 is titled 'sustainability from a labour perspective' and will be chaired by Lakeland Dairies’ Michael Hanley. This segment will feature Westmeath farmers Ed and Catríona McHugh who will speak on how they make their farm work for them.

This will be followed by a talk from Dr Marion Beecher and Abigail Ryan on Lean dairy farming.
Session three will focus on opportunities in dairy farming linked with progression and succession. This will be chaired by Amii McKeever (Farmers journal) at the Mullingar Conference and will feature speakers; Dr Laurence Shalloo and Gordon Peppard, followed by a panel discussion with farmers who have taken different paths into dairying.

Farmers on the panel at the Mullingar conference include: Brendan Elliott, Killucan, Co. Westmeath, Shane Dolan, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, and Ciaran & Kathy Kavanagh, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. The conference is expected to wind down at approximately 4:30pm.

Visitteagasc.ie/dairycon19 to find out more and to book your tickets. Early booking is recommended.

The cost of attendance is the same as previous years: €30 for students, €60 for Teagasc farmer clients and ConnectEd members and €120 for all other attendees.