The future is dairy according to Teagasc Director

While admitting that new entrants into milk, post the ending of quotas next Spring, could be in for a baptism of fire – given the recent plunge in international markets –  Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle believes that dairy is the only enterprise that will allow medium sized family farms to generate a sustainable income into the future.

Speaking at the launch of the organisation’s report for 2013, he added: “It’s not Teagasc’s job to speculate on future market trends, irrespective of the sector involved.

“But dairy has always delivered for farming throughout Ireland. And I do not see this changing once quotas go. In fact, I hold firmly to the view that dairy can look forward to an extremely bright future in this country.”

Professor Boyle then went on to confirm that Teagasc will shortly appoint a team of specialist dairy/investment advisors who will work with milk producers on a one-to-one basis, including new entrants, in order to help them best develop their businesses in a post quota world.

He added: “We have received agreement in principle from government to make these appointments. However, I must stress that the work of the new advisory team will be undertaken on a totally self-funding basis.”

Teagasc Chairman Dr Noel Cawley refuted suggestions that it was a bit late in the day for his organisation to be making these appointments, given that most new entrants into the dairy sector would have already made their investment plans for the future.

“Farmers, either entering the dairy sector for the first time or expanding an existing business, have already been working closely with Teagasc dairy advisors. The new team that we are appointing will act to complement this existing resource.

Commenting on the challenging predictions for farmgate milk prices over the coming year, Dr Cawley said: “Dairy farmers should be projecting their future sustainability plans around milk prices in the region of 25 to 30 cent per litre. And if they cannot meet this target then they shouldn’t be operating within the sector.”