According to Teagasc, its dairy expansion seminar tomorrow is a high-level discussion of the farm-level challenges that will be faced in bringing about an expansion in Irish milk production and among the key topics to be discussed is its new dairy benchmark system.

The seminar, entitled Benchmarking Expansion on Irish Dairy Farms, takes place in the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Tipperary and a 100-strong attendance is expected.

Teagasc said it is acknowledged that producers face different expansion challenges on each farm and, therefore, producers may consider alternative strategies based on their own circumstances in order to meet their own expansion goals.

It said this requires decisions about the level and pace of expansion and how that expansion is to be achieved, for example the extent to which expansion is achieved through increases in herd size or yield and how the dietary requirements of the cow are to be met.

The maintenance of a sustainable resilient dairy system under Irish conditions is imperative to the achievement of the expansion objective, it added.

It is acknowledged that expansion challenges will differ from farm to farm, although through collaboration between industry stake holders Teagasc is confident that a clear and concise expansion strategy can be identified and conveyed to milk producers, so that each farm can adopt the right approach.

Teagasc said the event is aimed at industry CEOs and other senior-level farm and processing representatives, input suppliers, the banking sector and agri-food media.

The seminar itself will include a review of the findings of a recent report produced by Teagasc examining how expansion objectives should be communicated and measured.

This will include a presentation of a new Dairy Score Card system, which will be used to benchmark the expansion of individual Irish dairy farms against comparable farms from 2015 onward.

Also on the agenda is a review of the expansion experience of Northern Ireland during the quota era and a comparison of the economic performance of Northern Ireland dairy farms with dairy farms in Ireland.

The design of a resilient dairy system capable of meeting the challenges presented by weather and price uncertainty will also be discussed.

This will be followed by an industry view on the path to expansion at farm level. A panel discussion will explore the challenges associated with associated with dairy expansion.

This will be followed by an open forum to discuss how the dairy expansion strategy can be best supported and reinforced by industry.

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