Dairy farmers planning on expanding can expect greater individual support and advice from Teagasc, as it streamlines its advisory services.

Despite losing 50% of its advisory staff between 2009 and 2014, Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle says it plans to roll out an advisory service aimed at giving dairy farmers who are thinking of expanding individual attention.

“We recognise there is a demand out there for individual attention and advice from farmers planning on expanding. There are people at different levels of expansion and we think there is a lot of room at the average level to double their numbers,” he told Agriland this week.

“We think there is a increasing demand for individual attention from farmers making significant investments. A high-level consultancy service, at a national level, is what they need and we are developing a better dairy farm expansion programme to accommodate this. This will involve a national team, supporting the individual advisors on the ground, who are working with the individual farmer who is planning expansion. That farmer needs individual attention.”

However, he warned that any dairy farmer thinking of expanding must be efficient at their current size before expanding. “The concern we would have is that key message has to be around efficiency. The worst thing a farmer can do is to get into debt and not have the sufficient levels of efficiency to service that debt. We need to moderate the levels of exuberance out there for expansion. it has to make financial sense. expectations have to be, to some extent, dampened. Efficiency before expansion is the basic message.”