‘Making Dairy Farming More Sustainable’ was the theme of this year’s Teagasc National Dairy Conference which took place at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, recently.
The conference, which was attended in large numbers, examined the opportunities for Irish grass fed milk products with industry speakers providing a perspective from the market. The lessons learned from coping with the weather extremes of this year and how to protect the dairy farm businesses from similar risks was also explored by Teagasc speakers, while research carried out at Teagasc Moorepark on ‘new insights to the feeding value of grazed pasture’ was also addressed.
With an increasing number of offspring coming from the dairy herd in Ireland, Natalie Roadknight, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, presented a paper on ‘Managing all calves to a high welfare standard: the Australian experience’. Andrew Cromie from ICBF also presented on the ‘The new Dairy Beef Index’, while Stephen Butler, Teagasc will talked about the role sexed semen had to play within the agricultural industry.
Numerous relevant workshops dotted proceedings with dairy farmers attending the conference having ample selections from which to choose during the one day event.
Speaking following the conference, Dr. Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc commented, “as dairy farms develop, there is a need to focus on sustainable practices, in terms of labour management, greenhouse gas emissions, fodder reserves, and animal welfare. The Teagasc Dairy Conference presented the latest knowledge to help farmers make informed decisions to continue the development of their enterprises in a sustainable way.”