Sustainable dairy open day to kick off in Kildalton tomorrow

A sustainability open day is due to take place at Kildalton Farm, Co. Kilkenny, tomorrow (Thursday, July 5) in a joint dairy demonstration between Teagasc and Glanbia.

Running from 10:00am through to 2:00pm, the event will demonstrate the science behind better environmental management practices as applied to an intensive farm such as Kildalton.

Open day

The open day will be a Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved Knowledge Transfer (KT) event.

It was originally supposed to take place last October, however, the demonstration day had to be postponed due to Storm Ophelia.

Attendees will rotate throughout six stations – each with a specific theme:
  • Station 1 – market place perspective;
  • Station 2 – Kildalton Dairy Herd;
  • Station 3 – nutrient management and soil fertility;
  • Station 4 – clover benefits in grass;
  • Station 5 – slurry use and application;
  • Station 6 – water quality commitments.

There will also be an exhibit village with displays to include topics such as: biodiversity; energy use; Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) and carbon navigators; animal welfare; and collaborative farming among others

There will be an indoor area for technology with representatives from Glanbia Connect, Pasturebase Ireland and eProfit, to name a few.

Other companies attending will include Bord Bia, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Irish Heart Foundation and Finance Ireland.

In addition, in response to the very challenging conditions being faced by farmers at present, the event will offer drought management advice from Teagasc and Glanbia.

Refreshments will also be provided, according to the organisers.

The event

The open day will focus on improving farm sustainability through a number of aspects, including: efficient cows; optimal soil fertility; adding clover to pastures; and recycling nutrients from the animal.

Other key topics will include sustainability in Glanbia and in the global marketplace, the importance of Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme, and practical implementations of sustainable practice on intensive dairy farms.

Speaking ahead of the event, Teagasc director Prof. Gerry Boyle said the ‘Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Dairy Demonstration Farm’ was established to show farmers how to farm more sustainably.

“It builds upon the large body of research and knowledge-transfer experience in Teagasc, and draws on international knowledge to showcase solutions to the economic and environmental sustainability challenges facing Irish farmers,” Prof. Boyle said.

Meanwhile, Glanbia Ireland CEO Jim Bergin has stressed that for farmers, sustainability should not be seen as a huge threat or a huge cost.

Bergin hailed Kildalton farm as demonstrating “the best sustainable management practices that will deliver economic and environmental benefits on Irish dairy farms”.

The CEO added: “The key to sustainability is adoption of best practice –  the open day provides a great opportunity to learn more about this key topic for all of us.”