New €1 million joint farm development programme launched

A new joint farm development programme between Dairygold Co-op and Teagasc was launched by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed today (Friday, November 9).

The initiative – Together Towards 2021 – is aimed at providing the society’s members with the best and most up-to-date information to maximise their profitability and sustainability at farm-level, according to Dairygold.

The joint programme, which runs to 2021, follows on from the success of the previous programme that saw over 8,500 people attend public and special interest events held over the three-year period up to 2017.

€7 million since 1993

The programme represents a €1 million investment which brings the total amount invested by the co-op in knowledge transfer events to €7 million since its collaboration with Teagasc began in 1993.

Cork farmer John Keane; Dairygold CEO, Jim Woulfe; and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed. Image source: Clare Keogh

This new joint programme continues to keep sustainable milk production at its core and will promote the adoption of sustainable and resilient dairy systems by Dairygold suppliers.

The programme will also focus specifically on labour efficiency, lean farm practices, biodiversity, water quality, herd health – with an increased collaboration with Munster AI – while harnessing the use of technology across the milking enterprise.

Speaking at the launch, on the farm of Dairygold milk supplier John Keane in Macroom, Minister Creed hailed the scheme.

“Collaboration and knowledge sharing is pivotal to ensuring the viability of farming for future generations.

“I’m hugely encouraged to see that this programme has taken a holistic approach to providing Dairygold members of all scale and development, with the tools required to achieve efficiency and profitability in a sustainable manner.

“I commend Dairygold for its continued dedication to support and empower members to realise their on-farm ambitions armed with the best insights, innovation and skills.”

Performance indicators

A number of key performance indicators have been set to ensure the programme meets its objectives.

Among those measured are: soil fertility improvements; grass utilisation; EBI increase; carbon footprint reduction; milk solids increase; financial management improvements; and milk quality scorecard gains.

Dairygold chairman John O’Gorman also commented, noting: “This year marks the 25th year of collaboration between Dairygold and Teagasc; a fitting time to embark on another ambitious and specially-tailored joint farm programme that delivers real benefit for our members.”

L-R: Cork farmer John Keane; Dairygold chairman, John O’Gorman; Tom Kelly, Teagasc; and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed. Image source: Clare Keogh

Tom Kelly, director of Knowledge Transfer from Teagasc, spoke about the collaboration.

He noted that the initiative would allow the entities to “work together to ensure a consistent delivery of relevant messages to all Dairygold suppliers, leading to necessary change and ultimately an efficient and sustainable supplier base for Dairygold”.