‘Sustainability that will deliver’: Dairy farm open day this month

An open day for dairy farmers will be held by Teagasc and Glanbia Ireland on the Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Demonstration Farm on Thursday, October 19, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

The dairy unit at Kildalton Agricultural College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, is a showcase for sustainable dairying which was set up in a joint initiative between Teagasc and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland in 2014.

The farm demonstrates the best sustainable management practices that will deliver economic, social and environmental benefits on Irish dairy farms.

The most valuable markets for Irish milk are demanding dairy products that are produced using sustainable systems that can be independently verified.

The Teagasc Kildalton farm is helping to boost the sustainability of Irish dairy farming by benchmarking the key sustainability indicators of the unit and identifying opportunities to improve performance, according to Teagasc.

Lessons learned are being passed on to dairy farmers to help improve their profitability and environmental performance.

At the open day on October 19, the key components of sustainable dairying will be explained and demonstrated by leading researchers and advisors from Teagasc and the advisory teams from Glanbia Ireland.

Ways to meet the challenges of achieving high production, good environmental protection, high animal welfare, a good work/life balance and a good living, will be presented and discussed with farmers at the open day.

Glanbia Ireland CEO Jim Bergin commented on the upcoming event, saying: “Glanbia recognises and actively uses Ireland’s advantages in sustainability as a key point of difference in global dairy markets.

Through Origin Green and the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme audits, Glanbia Ireland is actively proving to customers the sustainability credentials of our milk suppliers’ dairy products.

At Kildalton, Teagasc aims to continuously improve the sustainability of the dairy farm – seeking new opportunities to improve performance in practical and financially sound ways.

The carbon navigator and nutrient management plan are both tools that point towards ways to improve performance and economic returns, according to the agency.

Speaking about the current sustainability status of Irish farming, Ger Shortle, Teagasc and joint project leader, said: “Fortunately Ireland is starting from a relatively good sustainability position; however, we need to ‘up our game’ to meet the challenges created by the expected doubling of global food demand by 2050.

The Kildalton Sustainable Dairy Farm Open Day will show farmers how to go about tackling the challenges.

“The Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Demonstration Farm will play a central role in supporting the Irish dairy sector in reaching its sustainability goals and is a valuable resource for the dairy sector.”