A programme in Ireland which formed the foundation of sustainable dairy production within the Kerry agribusiness milk supplier base, has since its commencement 25 years ago been implemented across North Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Clare.
To-date, 76 monitor farmers and their families have participated in the joint programme.
An innovative concept of peer-led learning and knowledge transfer, Teagasc and Kerry Agribusiness now celebrate 25 years of working collaboratively on the joint programme, which commenced back in 1994.
Key to the success of the programme has been farmers, industry, advisory and research, all working together, to achieve progress on milk composition, herd genetics, nutrient and grazing management coupled with improvements in animal welfare and environmental management on farm.
Improvement in the milk composition of the Monitor Farms over the 25 years equates to an additional 5.5c/litre or €16,500 per annum for a supplier delivering 300,000 litres.
The extended grazing and improvement in dairy EBI equates to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
The substantial increase in the average EBI on Monitor Farms is equivalent to €350/cow additional profit.
The programme supported suppliers to profitably avail of opportunities that arose following the abolition of the EU milk quota system in 2015, highlighting the importance of cost effective expansion in milk production.
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle thanked the farmers and their families who participated in the joint programme over the years, and the staff from both Kerry Agribusiness and Teagasc who provided the leadership and technical knowledge which has made it such a success.
He said that this same level of ‘teamwork’ will be needed to meet the challenges facing dairy farmers in the future.