Dairy start-up courses announced for 10 locations

A dairy start-up involves a major commitment and a sizeable capital outlay – so farmers thinking of switching to milk production need to be sure that they are making the right decisions.

This has prompted Teagasc to design an accredited training course, for dairy start-up farmers, which was launched today (Friday, June 29).

Speaking at the launch, Teagasc director Prof. Gerry Boyle said: “We have designed a practical and interesting course, which combines both the principles for successful dairying with the practical skills required for the start-up process.

The course will help farmers with many of the important decisions required in starting up a new dairy business, while also establishing the likely costs and returns from dairy farming.

According to Tom O’Dwyer, Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc intends to run up to 10 courses.

“We have identified 10 locations across the country where we plan to hold the courses, but the final decision to run a course will depend on the level of interest.”

The proposed locations are as follows – though a minimum number of participants will be needed for each:
  • Thurles;
  • Enniscorthy;
  • Portlaoise;
  • Fermoy (Moorepark);
  • Pallaskenry;
  • Tullamore;
  • Tuam;
  • Ballina;
  • Ballymote;
  • Mullinavat.

Continuing, O’Dwyer said: “Farmers can indicate their interest in attending through our website or by talking to their local Teagasc advisor.

“While each course will be locally based, participants will also visit the Teagasc Moorepark Research Centre and the Greenfield dairy farm in Kilkenny or Bandon.”

L-R: Dairy start-up farmer Ashleigh Fennell; Prof. Gerry Boyle, Teagasc; Tom O’Dwyer, Teagasc; Kay O’Connell, Teagasc; and dairy farmers Eugene and Eoin Lawlor

Teagasc advisor Kay O’Connell, who herself participated in the delivery of a similar course in autumn 2017, highlighted a “unique” feature of the course.

She explained: “The course will be offered in two parts.

“The first part is a series of five training days – comprising of four days in autumn 2018, followed by a final day in late 2019.

“Between the initial four days and the final day, participants will have a unique opportunity to participate in an academy – where the group will meet monthly from February to November (10 meetings) for one year.

This has proved to be very beneficial to participating farmers as they work through the start-up process on their individual farms.

Ashleigh Fennell, who plans to milk cows in spring 2019, commented, saying: “We are currently building our milking parlour and winter facilities. We have heifers purchased and have just completed AIing them.

“I have attended a number of training days organised by Teagasc and find them very helpful as I start up my dairy business.”