Sustainability is set to be at the forefront at this year’s Teagasc National Dairy Conference, which is due to take place in December.

Two dates have been announced for this year’s conference: Tuesday, December 3, in Killarney, Co. Kerry; and on Thursday, December 5, in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Over the past number of years, sustainability from a number of perspectives has come increasingly to the forefront of Irish dairying.

Although farmers who recognise the challenges that this presents, and adapt accordingly, will continue to thrive and prosper in the years ahead.

The objective of this year’s conference is to provide guidance on “being a sustainable dairy farmer” and will outline the steps that dairy farmers can take “to ensure that their farming operations are: profitable; environmentally sound; and socially acceptable”.

Speaking about the upcoming conference, Tom O’Dwyer, head of Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer, said:

Being a sustainable dairy farmer will involve both adopting new technologies, while also renewing the best practices of the past.

“Irish dairy farmers have never been slow about adopting research proven technologies; the challenge over the years ahead will be to adopt new technologies to make their farms more sustainable.

“So, for example, Teagasc research has identified a range of measures to allow dairy farmers to reduce their environmental footprint.

“Three of these technologies will be highlighted at the conference, namely: the use of protected urea; the application of slurry using low emission slurry spreading (LESS); and the incorporation of white clover into grassland swards.”

Speakers at the event

As well as several Teagasc speakers, a number of dairy farmers will address the conference, highlighting how they have improved the sustainability of their farming businesses.

During the Killarney event, Karol Kissane, who is farming in Asdee, Co. Kerry, will outline how he has successfully made the transition to full-time dairying – after a varied career path.

L-R: Karol Kissane, dairy farmer; John Joe Dineen, Kerry Agribusiness; Majella Moloney, Teagasc Kerry/Limerick regional manager; Pat Rodgers, Kerry Agribusiness; and Dr. Tom O’Dwyer, head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer at Teagasc. Image source: O’Gorman Photography

Commenting ahead of the event, he said: “I trained as an accountant and spent a number of years working in Dublin. Having always had a love of farming, I decided to head back to Co. Kerry where I began dairying back in 2013.

“I’m now milking 100 cows on a 30ha milking platform and I love the life that dairying gives me and my family.”

Meanwhile, at the Mullingar conference, Ciarán Kavanagh – originally from Co. Wexford but now farming in Co. Offaly – will share the story of his journey to dairy farming.

Touching on his story, he said: “I qualified as a farm manager and spent 19 years working on various farms, including 10 years as a farm manager.

My wife and I took the decision to become shop-keepers in 2000, due to a lack of opportunities in dairy farming at that time.

“In 2013, we managed to buy 200ac in Offaly and we also purchased calves that summer; we commenced milk production in 2015. My wife Kathy really loves farming and we are in this together,” he added.

More information

The 2019 Teagasc National Dairy Conference is due to kick off at 9:00am on both: Tuesday, December 3, in the Killarney Convention Centre, Killarney; and on Thursday, December 5, in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar.

Like previous years, the cost of attendance is:
  • €30 for students;
  • €60 for Teagasc farmer clients and ConnectEd members;
  • €120 for all other attendees.

Registration includes: entrance to the conference; morning/afternoon tea, lunch; and a copy of the conference proceedings.

There is an early booking discount until the middle of November and early booking is recommended.

To find out more and to book your tickets click here