The 2019 Irish Grassland Association Annual Dairy Conference, sponsored by Yara, takes place on Wednesday 9th January. Staying in the south west of the country, the Charleville Park Hotel plays host to this year’s conference for the second year in succession.
Since the abolition of milk quotas, the rapid expansion of the dairy industry has resulted in an increasingly diverse range of systems of milk production. The prolonged and severe drought experienced during the summer of 2018 forced many farmers to purchase twice or three times as much feed and forge as normal and question the sustainability of their current dairy system. To address these issues, the Conference is divided into three parts:
Profitable grass-based dairy farms: Farmers Rhys James and Denis O’Donovan will describe how they operate their dairy farms and how their systems of milk production have evolved over the years. Rhys has been farming at Duck Pool Farm since it was purchased by the James family in 2008. He currently milks 300 dairy cows, producing 1,500 kilos of milk solids per hectare at a stocking rate of 3.5 cows per hectare feeding 1,200 kg of meal per cow. Denis farms near Rosscarbery in west Cork. Milking 150 crossbred dairy cows on a fragmented milking platform last year he produced 1,300 kilos of milk solids per hectare farmed again at a stocking rate of 3 cows per hectare using approximately 750 kg of meal per cow. Agricultural consultant Mike Brady will complement the two farmer speakers by reviewing the common characteristics of his most profitable dairy farmer clients.
Is producing more milk always the answer: With expansion of milk production continuing in Ireland, the IGA has invited Dr. John Roche to review Irish and New Zealand evidence for the true cost of the increase in milk production taking place. In his presentation John will review the evidence from a series of experiments conducted in New Zealand to evaluate the true cost and the profitability of different systems underpinning such increases in milk production.
Resetting the targets for a new grazing season:
Particularly relevant in light of the fodder deficit experienced on many farms last summer, the IGA has invited three speakers to review targets and plans for the year ahead. Teagasc’s Richard O’Brien will describe best practice regarding grazing targets for the spring and summer ahead. Stan Lalor of Grassland Agro will discuss fertiliser recommendations to maximise grass growth for the coming year – particularly relevant in light of the fodder deficit many farmers have at the moment. David Fogarty will outline the changes planned for 2019 at the Greenfield farm following a difficult summer and autumn on the farm.
Pre-Conference networking evening
On the evening before the Dairy Conference (Tuesday 8th January), there is an exclusive opportunity for Irish Grassland Association members to meet at an evening gathering in advance of the Conference. The 2018 guest speaker Jason Hawkins, Carbery CEO will be interviewed by former Irish Farmers’ Journal editor, Matt Dempsey. Jason will address the topic, ‘Dairying – future products and markets’.
Booking the Conference
Online booking is the quickest method to secure your tickets (and you will also avail of the best discounts available).
Alternatively you can post the completed Conference Application Form and your cheque to:
IGA office, Cookstown, Kells, Co. Meath.
We Would like to Thank Our Sponsors: