Teagasc has appointed two new Dairy Knowledge Transfer specialists.
Martina Gormley will be based at the Teagasc centre in Athenry and will cover the western region, while Stuart Childs will be located in the southern region and based in Teagasc Moorepark in Fermoy.
Martina Gormley comes from a farming background in Tuam, Co. Galway. In 2008, Martina received a BAgrSc (Animal Science) from University College Dublin. Having initially worked in the HerdPlus office with ICBF, Martina joined Teagasc in 2011, initially based in Teagasc, Leitrim as a Walsh fellow student completing a research masters on the “effectiveness of discussion groups as an extension tool”. Having completed her Masters Programme, Martina joined the Teagasc / Lakeland Dairies joint programme where she spent three years working with dairy farmers to improve their technical efficiencies. In September 2016, Martina took up a new role as Dairy Discussion Group Facilitator on the Teagasc/Aurivo joint programme.
Following her appointment as a Dairy Knowledge Transfer specialist, Martina Gormley said: “There are many opportunities and challenges facing dairying in Ireland. The Teagasc Profit Monitor demonstrates a big opportunity for farmers to improve and, or, maintain farm output while reducing costs. Attracting labour and people management is an area that poses challenges for dairy farmers at present. Part of my role will involve improving on-farm labour efficiency and attracting/retaining employees. I am delighted to join the Dairy Knowledge Transfer Team and look forward to working with the advisors and research colleagues at Teagasc along with dairy farmers and industry partners.”
From a farming background in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork with extensive dairy farming experience gathered through years of working with the Bride and Blackwater Farm Relief Services, Stuart Childs qualified with a BAgrSc (Animal Science) from UCD in 2004. He completed a PhD in Animal Science with Teagasc and UCD investigating the role of fatty acid nutrition on fertility in cattle under the direction of Professors David Kenny, Joe Sreenan and Michael Diskin graduating in 2008. Following nine months in the Animal Biotech Department in Teagasc Moorepark working on immune response to mastitis infection, Stuart worked as a Dairy Advisor in East Limerick based in Kilmallock. He worked with dairy clients and discussion groups in this area. He also worked as a Dairy Advisor in the Mallow office before moving to the Moorepark office in March 2016 where he has worked to date.
Speaking following his appointment, Stuart said: “Dairying in Ireland is going through considerable growth and this is producing new challenges for farmers, advisors and researchers. We are currently in the midst of one of the most challenging years experienced by all sectors of agriculture and it is a case of survival at this moment in time, however, farmers and the agricultural sector are very resilient. While maximising the use of grazed grass will always be to the fore in Ireland, given the competitive advantage it offers in terms of production costs, the health benefits associated with grass-fed dairy and the overall sustainability of the production system, strategies to better position farms to deal with weather shocks such as excessive rain or long dry spells will be necessary. I look forward to working with my advisory and research colleagues, along with dairy farmers and industry partners, to improve the sustainability at every level of all dairy farms in the country.”