Pat Dillon

Pat Dillon

IGA Lifetime Merit Award: 2019

Since its instigation in 2009 the Irish Grassland Association Lifetime Merit Award recognises individuals who have contributed significantly during their career to the progress of grassland technology and grass based farming systems.

Professor Pat Dillon was selected as a very worthy recipient of the 2019 Irish Grassland Association Lifetime Merit Award.  An evening to honour Pat and present the award was held on July 22nd in Athlone before the IGA Dairy Summer Tour.

There are very few people who have made the contribution to Irish dairy production that Professor Pat Dillon has during his career.  Pat has devoted his career to research at Teagasc Moorepark, where he has helped to increase the understanding and knowledge of pasture based systems. During this time, Pat has helped drive both the Irish dairy sector and grassland research to the fore internationally.

While it is now taken for granted that increasing the proportion of grazed grass in the dairy cows diet leads to the most profitable dairy production system, it was Pats early career pioneering work which established the practices which are now commonplace on farms throughout Ireland. Pat has also played a key role in establishing the ideal genetics of cows to suit our pasture based system as well as numerous other projects.  Along with undertaking ground breaking research Pat has been a fantastic mentor to the many researchers and students working at Teagasc.  Given the big changes currently being experienced in Irish agriculture his input into the sector is now more important than ever as he is leading the animal and grassland research programme at Teagasc.


Career to Date

Prof. Pat Dillon completed a diploma in Dairy Husbandry in Clonakilty Agriculture College in 1977.  Following this he completed a degree in Agricultural Science in UCD in 1986.  In 1989 he completed his Masters in Dairying in UCC and then did his PhD in 1993.  His PhD focused on estimating cow dry matter intake using the n-alkane technique, a measurement which is now routinely used in animal experiments across Teagasc, and indeed further afield.

Prof. Pat Dillon is currently Head of the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme. Prior to this he was Head of Teagasc’s Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre in Fermoy, Co. Cork. He has led many large scale research programmes over the last 25 years in different areas of research which include grazing management, animal nutrition, stocking rate and calving date, breed/strain comparisons, cow fertility, dairy cattle breeding and economic farm system modelling. Behind all of this work has been a focus to deliver profitable systems for the Irish dairy sector.

Pat provides a strong national leadership role to the Irish dairy industry, with considerable liaison with the industry and vision for the future. His research in dairy research has both strong national and international recognition. He is an invited speaker to conferences both at home and internationally including Europe, New Zealand, Australia and US.  Domestically, Pat has been a prolific contributor and supporter of the Irish Grassland Association speaking at many conferences, dairy summer tours and other events over the years.

The Irish Grassland Association is delighted to acknowledge Pats on going contribution to the Agri industry.


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Pat Dillon