Teagasc Dairy Open Day highlights challenges facing sector


Thousands of farmers attending the Teagasc Dairy Open Day, Moorepark’19, heard how the Irish dairy industry has been transformed with exports of Irish dairy products and ingredients increasing from €1.84 billion for the average of 2007 to 2009, to over €4 billion in 2018.

Milk production in Ireland has increased to 7.57 billion litres in 2018 and current indications are that milk production in 2019 could reach 8 billion litres.
The overall sponsor of the Dairy Open Day, Moorepark’19, which is took place in Fermoy, County Cork, on Wednesday, 3 July, is FBD Insurance, with additional support from Ornua and Ulster Bank.  
Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle warned dairy farmers that Irish dairy industry is currently facing a number of key challenges, namely climate change; water quality; remaining competitive; access to markets; and availability of skilled labour. “The challenge is to grow the business sustainably. In relation to climate change, Teagasc has produced guidelines for the dairy sector, identifying key actions that need to be undertaken to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.”
Fiona Muldoon CEO of FBD Holdings plc said: “FBD are committed to supporting Irish farming. I am delighted that Teagasc and FBD have again partnered for this annual highlight of the dairy calendar. The Moorepark dairy open day showcases world leading research and advice which is available to all farmers. FBD Insurance is also committed to new developments and our new farm product is proof of this. FBD’s environmental insurance cover which is now included as standard – is a first in this country."
A Dairy Farm Infrastructure Workbook, which was produced by Teagasc in partnership with Ulster Bank, was launched at Moorepark’19 and will help farmers to plan improvements in the areas of grazing infrastructure, milking practices and energy use. 
The Open Day Forum, sponsored by Ornua, addressed the ‘Challenges and Opportunities of Continued Expansion’. The panel discussed the importance of the dairy industry to the Irish economy, the environmental challenges of continued expansion, the nutritional benefits of dairy and future market requirements.
CEO of Ornua, John Jordan said: “We are proud to support Moorepark’19, an excellent example of Irish dairy farmers’ appetite for knowledge sharing and is indicative of their commitment to addressing challenges around climate change, water quality and biodiversity. Today’s consumers demand natural and sustainably produced dairy products and Ireland is well positioned to meet this demand. As an industry we need to continue to work collaboratively as we navigate through these challenges. By doing so, I am confident we will protect Ireland’s global reputation as a natural and sustainable food producer.”
A comprehensive booklet outlining all the latest research and advice presented at the open day is available at https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/