Glanbia Ireland and Teagasc unveil the new Open Source Future Farm Programme
Glanbia Ireland and Teagasc have launched the next generation of a joint programme that aims to provide family farms with the skills and technologies to operate efficient and sustainable dairy farming systems.
The Open Source Future Farm Programme is the latest evolution of the Teagasc/Glanbia Ireland knowledge transfer programme. It will harness advancements in technology and farm practices to support farmers to make the necessary changes for a profitable and sustainable future.
At the launch of the five year programme, Glanbia Ireland’s CEO Jim Bergin, commented: “Knowledge transfer networks provide key learning opportunities for farmers and we hope this programme will help family farms adopt efficiencies to grow their businesses sustainably and profitably into the future.
“A key objective of this programme is to help farmers implement changes to ensure that their environmental footprint is in line with the aims of the national Climate Action Plan.”
Glanbia Ireland Chairman Martin Keane welcomed this latest partnership with Teagasc and thanked the 11 farm families for agreeing to participate in the programme. “Our farmers should be recognised for their generosity in agreeing to open up their farms for the benefit of their fellow farmers.”
At the launch of the joint programme, Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy also thanked the 11 farmers and their families. He said: “Demonstration farmers have a major role to play in the application of scientific findings and the spreading of best practices and innovative farming approaches to their fellow farmers.”
Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director, said: “Farming systems have to evolve to tackle multiple challenges, and this is especially true now in relation to the multi-faceted sustainability challenge, including the need to improve water quality, reduce agricultural emissions and maintain biodiversity.
“Teagasc has conducted the independent research and has developed the science-backed advice which will allow farmers to rise to the sustainability challenge – what is needed now is the adoption of a range of practices rapidly and at scale.
“I believe that this programme and specifically the 11 demonstration farmers can provide leadership in this respect.”
The 11 farms, which range in size from 120 to 320 cows, will be part of the EU-funded Smart Agri Hubs dairy project, with meters installed to monitor and improve water and energy usage. This tool will aid all farmers across the Glanbia Ireland supply base in using water and energy resources more efficiently.
A key priority in the programme will be to introduce digital technologies and practices particularly in the area of labour efficiency. It will provide strong insights for other farmers on streamlining their farming operation to deliver lean management practices, whilst also supporting the health and well-being of the farmer.
Strong emphasis will be placed on soil nutrient management, utilising high yields of quality grass, effective Nitrogen usage and the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) of the herds to help boost productivity.
Glanbia Ireland’s Farm Development Manager John Murphy and Teagasc Dairy Business and Technology Advisor Richard O’Brien will manage and provide the technical services for the programme.
There will be regular opportunities to see first-hand the advancements through farm walks held on the 11 farms, which vary in size and soil types across the Glanbia Ireland catchment area. They are located in Laois, Waterford, Kildare, Cork, Kilkenny, Meath, Wexford, Wicklow and Tipperary.
Open Source Future Farm participants
|Thomas Fennelly||Portarlington, Co Laois|
|Shane and John P Fitzgerald||Portlaw East, Co Waterford|
|Steven Fitzgerald||Aglish, West Waterford|
|Donal Kavanagh||Baltinglass, Co Wicklow|
|Jack and Larry Kearney||Rathcormack, Co Cork|
|Cathal Moran||Skeoughvosteen, Co Kilkenny|
|Mathew and Declan Mullen||Kells, Co Meath|
|Kevin Murphy||Gorey, North Wexford|
|Francis Nolan||Muckalee, North Kilkenny|
|John Ryan||Gortnahoe, Co Tipperary|
|Shay Ryan||New Ross, Co Wexford|
First Published 6 September 2019