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Prevention for profit winner
Kilkenny dairy farmer Eamon Sheehan has been announced
as the inaugural winner of the Prevention for Profit
competition. Initiated and run by MSD Animal Health, the
competition is aimed at dairy farmers who are maximising
their profitability by focusing on four key pillars of production
nutrition, genetics, management and animal health.
Eamon Sheehan, who switched from suckler beef
production to dairying just five years ago, beat competition
from all over Ireland to take the top award. The award
consists of an all-expenses study tour of dairy farms across
Europe. Eamon and his wife Lois farm at Cuffesgrange. They
have two children, Rachel (6) and Julia (4). Up to 2012, they
had a herd of 120 suckler cows. The Sheehans started the
switch to dairying in 2013. They are milking 150 cows this
year and will calve 185 next spring. "We were looking for
excellence across a wide range of areas and Eamon scored
very high in all vital measurements of high-performance
dairy farming," said Mike Magan, chairman of Animal Health
Ireland, a member of the judging panel. Evidence of the high
standard of management can be seen from the fact that
85% of the herd calved within six weeks last spring. Less
than three per cent of cows proved not in calf after 12 weeks
of breeding and just two out of 56 heifers were not in calf
after nine weeks of breeding.
Eamon operates a comprehensive disease prevention
programme which includes vaccination against IBR,
leptospirosis, salmonella and calf scour. Calves are
vaccinated against clostridial diseases. He also operates
a rigid screening programme for Johne's disease. He was
described by Dr William Minchin, ruminant business unit
director with MSD Animal Health, as a leading example of
the growing number of progressive farmers who now use
prevention rather than cure in their approach to herd health.
Eamon was awarded a Nuffield scholarship in 2017. This
enabled him to travel extensively to study his chosen topic
of antibiotic resistance and the importance of vaccination
to prevent disease while also reducing use of antibiotics.
Countries he visited include the US, China, Singapore,
Philippines, Germany, France and the UK.
Pictured at the Macra Agricultural Skillnet/ABP Leaders of the Year Awards
were winners Josephine O'Neill (Callan Macra, Kilkenny), Hannah Driver
(Tullow Macra, Carlow) and Marie Harnett (Waterford City Macra) with
Colm Dore of ABP and Macra na Feirme National President James Healy
Eamon Sheehan (left), the overall winner of the MSD Protection for Profit
competition, being presented with his award by Dr William Minchin, MSD
ruminant business unit director. Also included is Mike Magan, chairman
Animal Health Ireland and one of the judges of the award.
Macra Young Leaders
Macra Agricultural Skillnet recognised its outstanding
young leaders at the recent ABP Leaders of the Year Awards.
The winners were: Marie Harnett, Waterford City Macra,
Waterford; Josephine O'Neill, Callan Macra, Kilkenny; and
Hannah Driver, Tullow Macra, Carlow.
Macra na Feirme National President, James Healy, said:
"The Leaders of the Year Awards recognise the leadership
skills of Macra members within their clubs and wider
community, they recognise the effort, creativity and drive of
our members and are a crucial part of the Macra na Feirme
Leadership Programme. I would also like to thank ABP for
their continued support of the Leaders of the Year Awards. It
is their support that helps make this event memorable for all
our finalists." This year's six finalists were judged by a panel
comprised of Sean Eustace, Macra na Feirme Past President;
Amii McKeever, Irish Country Living; and Colm Dore, ABP
Food Group. The three winners were presented with specially
commissioned commemorative trophies.
Bord Bia teams up with farm organisations

Bord Bia is teaming up with the main farm organisations -
including ICMSA and the IFA - over the coming months to
support farmers preparing for on-farm audits in the Sustain-
able Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS). This follows the roll-out
last year of an e-learning portal which provides dairy farm-
ers with the key points to address when preparing for these
audits, which are a vital component of Ireland's national food
sustainability programme Origin Green. Origin Green Helpdesk
personnel will be on hand before and after local farm organi-
sation meetings to address individual farmer enquiries around
SDAS. The meetings, which began with the ICMSA earlier this
month, will continue into early next year before calving starts.
Bord Bia will also be involved in IFA meetings in the New Year.
ICMSA President Pat McCormack welcomed the participation
of Bord Bia at local meetings: "Based on queries and concerns
from members, ICMSA is happy to host Bord Bia at our local
meetings in the coming months. This provides an opportunity
to our members to engage directly with Bord Bia at a personal
level and set out their questions and concerns in relation to
Bord Bia audits and SDAS. It is something that ICMSA feel will
benefit both our members and Bord Bia in the long term and
would encourage as many of our members to attend and
engage as possible."