En­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ments pro­vided pay­back straight away on Cork dairy farm

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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.

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