A major Teagasc Open Day for the Irish dairy industry will take place in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork today. The theme for the Open Day is ‘Irish Dairying; Harvesting the Potential’ and the event will take place against a background of the imminent milk quota abolition in 2015 and the weather-induced feed shortage during this winter/spring.

The Open Day will provide dairy farmers and those involved in the dairy industry with the opportunity to view and discuss the latest developments in key dairying technologies that will help them exploit the opportunity to grow family farm businesses and cope with future challenges such as volatile milk prices and extreme weather patterns.

According to Teagasc, Ireland’s competitive advantage in milk production is based on the efficient production and use of pasture; this is still the only viable model of producing milk in Ireland for a competitive world market.

There is nothing dairy farmers can do about the weather, but there are lessons from 2012/2013 that can help minimise the impact of such events in the future. The Teagasc Open Day will highlight the importance of the adoption of farming systems that are resilient to external forces, incorporating sufficient tactical flexibility to overcome unanticipated events, such as those seen this spring.

Speaking recently head of the Teagasc animal production and grassland programme, Dr Pat Dillon said: “The imminent abolition of milk quotas provides dairy farmers with significant opportunity for expansion. Expansion should only be planned if it is going to result in increased farm profitability and improve the livelihoods of the family running the farm. This Open Day will provide family farms with guidance on how to assess their farm businesses and plan a successful expansion.”

There will be a network of themed villages for farmers to visit on the day, which include information on breeding, grassland, milk quality, new entrants and environmental sustainability. With a growing number of farmers seeking to enter dairy farming the village for new entrants to dairying will be of particular interest with advice and information on financial planning and the best farm infrastructure to put in place.

At the Open Day, a conference on ‘Pathways to a Career in Dairying’ will take place and be addressed by a panel of young dairy farmers including Enda Hawe, the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year 2012. This makes Moorepark ’13 a day not to be missed by anyone with an interest in the Irish dairy industry.

The support of FBD Trust, the overall sponsor of Moorepark ’13, is greatly appreciated, Teasgac said in a statement. The Open Day runs from 10-5pm. A comprehensive booklet will be provided. Admission and parking is free.