Environmental improvements provided payback straight away on Cork dairy farm
water usage. ‘This makes you more aware of water usage and helps you identify leaks which can mount up costs.’ Glenn put in a rain water harvest system collecting rain from the shed roofs. It supplies 60% to 65% of wash down water.
A variable speed vacuum pump was installed to reduce energy and Glenn replaced all lights with LED bulbs, which he says really helps to cut down on energy use and costs.
In terms of breeding, Glenn has been been following the EBI system. ‘We have continued to fine tune it to breed the right cows for a grass based system,’ says Glenn. ‘The SDAS audit is a trigger to remind me to do things like keeping my animal remedies up to date. It’s a great way of keeping yourself in check.’ Glenn is monitoring grass growth and quality and is in a trial with Moorepark. ‘Our objective is to grow more grass and to get more out of it. Grass measuring and soil testing are two of the best ways you can improve farm profitability. We kept our cows outside for 304 days last year and we’ll be doing the same again this year. There’s huge cost savings in that.’ Glenn has hosted international customers ranging from Chinese to American on his farm. ‘My impression was they heard that Ireland was green and cows were grazed outside - but they didn’t really believe it until they could see it. They walked out into our fields and they were surprised.’
Retail and foodservice customers, as well as food and drink manufacturers, are increasingly committed to “sustainable sourcing” sourcing from suppliers with robust and recognised certification, such as Bord Bía’s SDAS. Already, Origin Green verified members account for over 90% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports. ‘We have a huge advantage in this country with our climate and our natural environment. We can produce a sustainable, good quality product and keep control of our costs,’ says Glenn. ‘Programmes like Origin Green are vital to promote our image around the world.’ Glenn is also passionate about the environment for his young sons, twins Shea and Conor, aged five. ‘I’ll be happy with whatever decision the boys take in life. But, if they’re interested in farming, I’d recommend it. That’s why I’m conscious of the environment. ‘Minding the good things we have ensures we have them for future generations.’
Find out more at www.bordbia.ie/farmers
Origin Green dairy farmer Glenn Forde on his farm near Ballinadee, Co Cork, who supplies milk to Bandon Co-op.