Kerry Agribusiness and Teagasc celebrate 25 years of working collaboratively on the Joint Programme which commenced in 1994 and was an innovative concept of peer-led learning and knowledge transfer.
The Programme supported suppliers to profitably avail of opportunities that arose following the abolition of the EU milk quota system in 2015, highlighting the importance of cost effective expansion in milk production. This was the first such programme in Ireland and formed the foundation of sustainable dairy production within the Kerry Agribusiness milk supplier base. Over the 25 year period, the Joint Programme was implemented across counties Kerry, North Cork, Limerick and Clare. To-date, 76 Monitor farmers and their families have participated in the Joint Programme. Key to the success of the Programme has been farmers, industry, advisory and research all working together to achieve progress on milk composition, herd genetics, nutrient and grazing management coupled with improvements in animal welfare and environmental management on farm.
Acording to Teagasc, improvement in the milk composition of the Monitor Farms over the 25 years equates to an additional 5.5c/litre or €16,500 per annum for a supplier delivering 300,000 litres; the extended grazing and improvement in dairy EBI equates to a significant reduction in carbon emissions; and the substantial increase in the average EBI on Monitor Farms is equivalent to €350/cow additional profit.
Commenting on the Kerry Agribusiness/Teagasc Joint Programme, Pat Murphy, Head of Kerry Agribusiness stated: “Tremendous progress had been made by the participating Monitor Farmers and by all dairy farmers in the Kerry Catchment Area over the past 25 years. The focus on increasing milk solids, extending the grazing season and utilising as much grass as possible, herd health and sustainable expansion had made dairy farming much more profitable and environmentally compliant in recent years."
Speaking in Tralee, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle thanked the farmers and their families who participated in the Joint Programme over the years, and the staff from both Kerry Agribusiness and Teagasc who provided the leadership and technical knowledge which has made it such a success.