The Aurivo / Teagasc Joint Programme 2021-2023 has been launched by Raymond Barlow, chairman of Aurivo co-op and Teagasc regional advisory manager, Tom Kellegher.

The joint programme aims to improve farm profitability and environmental practices while ensuring that dairy farming is socially sustainable.

The programme builds on and is a continuation of the two previous programmes that began in 2014.

Speaking at the launch, Raymond Barlow said: “I am delighted to launch Phase 3 of the joint programme between Aurivo and Teagasc.

Over the past six years we have worked with 13 other focus farms and over 20 discussion groups through this forum and the fantastic work of our dedicated suppliers.

“I am proud to say Aurivo’s milk suppliers have made significant gains in constituents, grassland management and work/life balance. All of the above would not be possible without the dedication, advice and commitment of the Aurivo and Teagasc advisory teams.

“Aurivo looks forward to working with our seven new focus farms and I sincerely thank our milk suppliers for their commitment and openness to new ideas and making our co-op more sustainable into the future,” Barlow said.

Focus farms

As part of the programme, seven focus farms have been chosen throughout the region.

There will be a renewed focus on improving environmental practices on the seven focus farms, starting with the basics of good grassland management, soil fertility and high Economic Breeding Index (EBI) dairy cows.

Farms involved in the programme will increase the use of protected urea, reduce overall nitrogen use and use low emissions slurry spreading (LESS) equipment.

The farms will also adopt practices to protect water quality and improve biodiversity on their farms such as planting new hedgerows, improving existing hedgerows and fence off all watercourses.

Information from the focus farms will be shared each month in the Aurivo co-op newsletter; through social media channels; Teagasc communications channels; and once there is a relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions, public farm walks.

Speaking after the launch, Tom Kellegher said: “The programme will also support over 20 Teagasc farmer discussion groups working throughout the region.

Teagasc facilitator John Greaney, based in the region, will work with the discussion groups and the local Teagasc dairy advisors to improve uptake of technologies, such as EBI, grassland management and low emission slurry spreading (LESS).

Aurivo milk suppliers have made huge strides in important areas such as production per cow, protein and fat content and output per hectare over the last number of years.

The programme will support continued improvement and help ensure the continued success of dairy farms in the Aurivo region.