Following a Covid-19 enforced hiatus, the Irish Grassland Association (IGA) Dairy Summer Tour is returning in 2022 with three events.

The events will take place over two days and include a tour of two dairy farms, an evening event and then the dairy conference itself.

These events will take place on Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

IGA Dairy tours

The event starts with two dairy farm walks – one based in Co. Tipperary and a second one in Co. Kilkenny.

These walks will focus on a theme of optimising output on the milking platform.

Host farmers for the day will be Tom Walsh from Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny and Denis Cody from Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

Denis Cody

Denis farms with his wife Carmel and his parents Eamon and Anne, near Clonmore, Templemore, Co. Tipperary on two milking platforms.

One is 50% owned and the second is 100% leased totalling, 138ha. In 2022 a total of 250 cows will be milked on this home platform.

Last year, an average of 520kg milk solids was produced/cow (4.63% fat and 3.78% protein), with approximately 700kg meal fed/head.

The overall stocking rate is 2.5 livestock units/ha farmed, the milking platforms are stocked at 3.2 cows/ha and 2.8 cows/ha.

In 2021 the farms grew approximately 14t of grass dry matter per hectare.

Tom Walsh

Tom and his wife Norma farm 64ha near Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny.

In 2021, 620kg/cow (4.5% fat and 3.72% protein) was produced, this was produced from a diet of approximately 1.5t of concentrate/cow, high quality grazed grass and silage.

Tom calved 86% of the herd in six weeks with a calving interval of 364 days.

An average herd economic breeding index (EBI) of €182, puts the herd in the top 10% of herds in the country.

Proceedings will begin at Semple Stadium in Thurles, where buses will then bring attendees to the farms.

Looking both ways

On the evening in between the Dairy Summer Tour and Dairy Conference, there is an event entitled ‘Looking both ways’, this is a free event and takes place in the Talbot Hotel in Clonmel.

The guest speakers for 2022 are Seamus Quigley dairy farmer; Ashleigh Fennell, dairy farmer; and Joe Patton from Teagasc.

Dairy conference

The final event is the IGA Dairy Conference which will take place on Wednesday, July 20 at the Talbot Hotel Clonmel.

The conference is divided into three sessions to address these topics:

  • Controlling the controllables;
  • Addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) challenges;
  • Attracting and retaining people.

The conference takes place in-person for the first time in two years and in those two years, there has been unprecedented change in the world, affecting every part of a dairy farmer’s business.

Farmers are faced with record input prices, new environmental regulations and a challenging labour market.

Speakers at the conference will include:

  • Brendan Horan, principal research officer with Teagasc at Moorepark;
  • Bobby Hovenden, dairy farmer from Co. Laois;
  • Dr. Mary Kinston, an independent dairy discussion group facilitator;
  • Laurence Shalloo, head of the animal and grassland research and innovation programme, Teagasc Moorepark;
  • Dr. Nollaig Heffernan, independent management consultant specialising in leadership and organisational psychology;
  • Mark Cassidy, dairy farmer from Co. Meath;
  • TJ Kelly, dairy farmer from Co. Galway.