Gerry Boyle, Tom O’Dwyer and Kay O’Connell, Teagasc; Ashleigh Fennell, Palatine, Co. Carlow – dairy start up farmer; due to start milking in spring 2019; Eugene and Eoin Lawlor, Ballitore, Co. Kildare
The decision to convert your farm to milk production is a big one.
A dairy start-up involves a major commitment and a sizeable capital outlay, so farmers thinking of switching to milk production need to be sure that they are making the right decisions.
This has prompted Teagasc to design an accredited training course, for dairy start up farmers.
Speaking at the launch, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, said: “We have designed a practical and interesting course, which combines both the principles for successful dairying with the practical skills required for the start-up process. The course will help farmers with many of the important decisions required in starting up a new dairy business, while also establishing the likely costs and returns from dairy farming.”
According to Tom O’Dwyer, Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc intend running up to ten courses. “We have identified ten locations across the country where we plan to hold the courses, but the final decision to run a course will depend on the level of interest. Farmers can indicate their interest in attending through our website, www.teagasc.ie/dairystartup or by talking to their local Teagasc Advisor.”
Teagasc Advisor, Kay O’Connell, who herself participated in the delivery of a similar course in autumn 2017, highlighted a unique feature of the course: “The course will be offered in two parts. The first part is a series of five training days, comprising four days in autumn 2018, followed by a final day in late 2019. Between the initial four days and the final day, participants will have a unique opportunity to participate in an academy, where the group will meet monthly from February to November (10 meetings) for one year. This has proved to be very beneficial to participating farmers as they work through the start-up process on their individual farms.”
Eugene Lawler, dairy farmer who started milking in spring 2015, highlighted the benefit of getting good advice as you prepare to convert your farm: “The advice and guidance provided by Teagasc through its Dairy Start Up course was invaluable to us and helped us with many decisions.”
Ashleigh Fennell plans to milk cows in spring 2019. “We are currently building our milking parlour and winter facilities. We have heifers purchased and have just completed AI’ing them. I have attended a number of training days organised by Teagasc and find them very helpful as I start up my dairy business.”