‘We can’t lose sight of the farmer – there must be a dividend for them’

There must be a divided for the farmer that works its way back to them, Sean Molloy, Director of Strategy with Glanbia has said.

Speaking at the Teagasc Technology Foresight conference, on new technologies in the agri-food sector, he said that in a co-op situation the ultimate ownership goes back to the primary producer, but there is often a time lag and the asset invested can take some time to pass back to the farmer.

“The value we add in Glanbia, in products or processing facilities, has to be part of the equation. But we have to be very careful how we measure that payback. But, if there is no payback to the primary producer the foundation is unsound.”

Molloy also said that Glanbia has a very interesting supply chain, from 5,000 farmer suppliers to millions of customers worldwide.

He said how integration of the supply chain without ownership, from customer to the farmer – without having to own it all – presents significant opportunities for Glanbia.

Molloy also said there is an onus on people in the industry to translate the language used to make technology more accessible.

John O’Sullivan a dairy farmer from Whitechurch, Co. Cork, told the conference that time, money and compliance are the three big issues on Irish farms today and any technology that helps with this is good.

“There is no better person than a farmer to adopt technology when it makes sense to him and the cost benefit analysis has been done.

“Very quickly a farmer will size up whether this is a runner or not.”

Edmund Harty of Dairymaster said if it makes economic sense farmers will adopt the technology.