The Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness Division is taking a strategic and supportive approach in meeting the future needs of dairy, beef and sheep farmers in line with the Food Harvest 2020 expansion plans, the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regime and the removal of milk quotas in 2015.

With an overall 50 per cent increase targeted for Irish food output, Ireland’s competitive advantage in pasture-based production can be profitably exploited by farmers.

Lakeland Dairies is supporting farmers in this aim with a new integrated nutrition system called Rumismart Sustain.  This integrated feeding system is designed to improve the overall efficiency of food production, it said.

“Farmers are looking optimistically towards future growth and we at Lakeland Dairies are also confident and optimistic for the future of farming.  Ireland is well positioned for extra output with continuously growing demand for agrifood products worldwide,” said Dr Pat Shiels, general manager of Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness.

“The agri-food industry is entering a new era. The opportunities for naturally produced Irish food are considerable. The pasture-based model for dairy, beef and sheep offers a potential for product differentiation based on Ireland’s green credentials and our new Lakeland Rumismart Sustain system supports this.

“In 2012, the world population reached seven billion and by 2025 it will be eight billion.  The growth opportunity targeted by Food Harvest 2020 requires higher productivity, less wastage and higher value outputs from dairy, beef and sheep farming systems.

“Milk quotas will be abolished in 2015 and the shape of Ireland’s new CAP regime is now becoming clearer in terms of farm payments and the requirements for greening etc. Very recently we have also seen some amendments to the Nitrates regulations.  The new Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Quality scheme and Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance schemes have placed a priority on the sustainability of production.  They also provide Ireland’s agrifood industry with a competitive quality advantage in marketing our dairy, beef and sheep products to consumers globally.

“With increasing output, it is essential for farmers to develop a sustainable and profitable production model.  To support this, Lakeland Dairies has developed a long term and structured approach to feed production and ruminant nutrition. Backed up by the most up to date scientific research and expertise, the Lakeland Rumismart Sustain system covers all aspects of ruminant feed production and nutrition. It is intensively focused on the efficiency of production and therefore the profitability of the farm unit,” said Shiels.

“The integrated Rumismart Sustain feeding system provides comprehensive technical advice and support in the areas of soils, forage production, animal health and supplementary feeding. It will be delivered by Lakeland Agri’s  highly experienced technical and nutrition support team in a very professional manner.”

“Just as important as actually increasing production, farmers need to know that there are customers out there for their produce,” Shiels said.

“From a dairy perspective, Lakeland Dairies has access to the food industry markets and customers required to ensure long-term and sustainable success for milk producers. We have built up a major customer base in 70 countries.  The co-operative exports close to 100 per cent of all locally produced milk that it collects for its dairy products and sells 170 different branded products worldwide.

“As a farmer owned dairy co-operative, our sole mission is to promote the long-term future and success of farming in the region and to provide the best possible returns from the market to our milk producers,” said Shiels. “We have also engaged in a three-year Dairy Efficiency Programme in conjunction with Teagasc to promote efficiency in production at farm level”

In conclusion, Shiels added that the challenge for everyone is to produce more from less.

Pictured Pat Sheils, Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness General Manager