Ire­land in good sus­tain­abil­ity po­si­tion but must ‘up our game’

Irish Examiner - Farming - - DAIRY SECTOR -

Tea­gasc and Glan­bia Ire­land will have an Open Day for dairy farm­ers on the Kil­dal­ton Open Source Sus­tain­able Demon­stra­tion Farm on Thursday, Oc­to­ber 19, from 10am to 2pm.

The dairy unit at the Tea­gasc Kil­dal­ton Agri­cul­tural Col­lege, Pil­town, Co Kilkenny, is a show­case for sus­tain­able dairy­ing which has been set up in a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween Tea­gasc and Glan­bia In­gre­di­ents Ire­land (GII).

The farm demon­strates the best sus­tain­able man­age­ment prac­tices that will de­liver so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits on Ir­ish dairy farms. The most valu­able mar­kets for Ir­ish milk are de­mand­ing dairy prod­ucts that are pro­duced us­ing sus­tain­able sys­tems that can be in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied. The Tea­gasc Kil­dal­ton farm is help­ing to boost the sus­tain­abil­ity of Ir­ish dairy farm­ing by bench­mark­ing the key sus­tain­abil­ity in­di­ca­tors of the unit and iden­ti­fy­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove per­for­mance. Lessons learned are be­ing passed on to dairy farm­ers to help im­prove their prof­itabil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance.

At the Open Day on Oc­to­ber 19, the key com­po­nents of sus­tain­able dairy­ing will be ex­plained and demon­strated by lead­ing re­searchers and ad­vi­sors from Tea­gasc and the ad­vi­sory teams from Glan­bia Ire­land. Ways to meet the chal­lenges of achiev­ing high pro­duc­tion, good en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, high an­i­mal wel­fare, a good work/life bal­ance and a good liv­ing, will be pre­sented and dis­cussed with farm­ers at the Open Day.

Glan­bia Ire­land CEO Jim Ber­gin said, “Glan­bia recog­nises and ac­tively uses Ire­land’s ad­van­tages in sus­tain­abil­ity as a key point of dif­fer­ence in global dairy mar­kets. Through Ori­gin Green and the Sus­tain­able Dairy As­sur­ance Scheme au­dits, Glan­bia Ire­land is ac­tively prov­ing to cus­tomers the sus­tain­abil­ity cre­den­tials of our milk sup­pli­ers’ dairy prod­ucts”. At Kil­dal­ton, Tea­gasc aims to con­tin­u­ously im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of the dairy farm, seek­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove per­for­mance in prac­ti­cal and fi­nan­cially sound ways. The Car­bon Nav­i­ga­tor and the Nu­tri­ent Man­age­ment Plan are both tools that point to how to im­prove per­for­mance and eco­nomic re­turns. Com­ment­ing on the cur­rent sus­tain­abil­ity sta­tus of Ir­ish farm­ing, Ger Shor­tle, Tea­gasc and joint project leader said: “For­tu­nately, Ire­land is start­ing from a rel­a­tively good sus­tain­abil­ity po­si­tion, how­ever, we need to ‘up our game’ to meet the chal­lenges cre­ated by the ex­pected dou­bling of global food de­mand by 2050. The Kil­dal­ton Sus­tain­able Dairy Farm Open Day will show farm­ers how to go about tack­ling the chal­lenges.” “The Kil­dal­ton Open Source Sus­tain­able Demon­stra­tion Farm will play a cen­tral role in sup­port­ing the Ir­ish dairy sec­tor in reach­ing its sus­tain­abil­ity goals and is a valu­able re­source for the dairy sec­tor.” For more in­for­ma­tion on the Kil­dal­ton Open Source Sus­tain­able Demon­stra­tion Farm visit https://www.tea­gasc.ie/en­vi­ron­ment/sus­tain­abil­ity-/kil­dal­ton-sus­tain­able-demon­stra­tion­farm/

Overseed­ing dairy pad­docks with clover in May, 2016, on the Kil­dal­ton Open Source Sus­tain­able Farm.

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