Seven free ‘Smarter Milking’ events will be held for dairy farmers throughout the country in the month of July.

Organised in a joint effort by FRS Training, Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland (AHI), the demonstrations will be held on host farms, backed by a dairy co-op in each region.

Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Aurivo and Lakeland Dairies – who took part last year – and Dairygold, Arrabawn, Carbery and Lisavaird Co-op, who have come on board this year, are backing these events to help farmers to achieve smarter milking and become more efficient and cost-effective.

The series of ‘Smarter Milking’ events, which are open to all farmers and farm workers alike, will run through July in counties Limerick, Laois, Mayo, Cork, Tipperary and Longford.

The events will cover various topics at different stations or stands on the host farms.

The events will cover the areas of better cow flow, best practice milking technique, lean milking, producing high-quality milk and how to be more cost and energy efficient.

The ‘Smarter Milking’ events will take place in seven locations around the country, one for each of the participating dairy co-ops, as follows:

Topics covered at the individual stands by expert speakers include the following key themes.

Key themes

Getting the cows in and out: This will cover developing positive experiences for the cow on the lead-up to and in the parlour to improve milk let down and productivity.

Doing the job right: This includes preparing for milking, milking in batches, cluster management, reducing repetitive strain injury and teat disinfection.

Saving time on milking: This stand will cover the concept of ‘LEAN’ in relation to the milking process and will also cover the importance of having Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for the different tasks around milking.

Producing high-quality milk: The important topic of producing the highest milk quality throughout the milking process, including milk recording, will be demonstrated with specific emphasis on chlorine-free washing, reducing somatic cell count (SSC), total bacteria count (TBC) and thermodurics.

Saving energy and money: This stand will discuss energy efficiency on dairy farms with a particular emphasis on milk cooling, water heating and variable speed pumps.

Best Practice in Milking Course: Details on the two-day QQI Level 6 Best Practice in Milking course, which is developed and ran in conjunction with FRS Training, Teagasc and AHI, will be given.

‘Big difference’

Commenting on the event, Pat Reilly, FRS Training, said: “Building on the success of last year’s events we wanted to give farmers the knowledge of how efficient milking can make a big difference on a dairy farm.”

Padraig O’Connor, Teagasc, commented: “These events will outline how dairy farmers and their staff can implement techniques to enable a more efficient and safer milking process which delivers high-quality milk and greater profits.

Farmers will be able to discuss the milking system with the host farmers.

Grainne Dwyer, AHI, said: “The events are designed to assist dairy farmers and their staff in the efficient production of high-quality milk, which will increase output and profitability.”

Those interested in attending the free events can contact the FRS milking course Facebook page for further details.