Making sustainable milk production

TEAGASC VIRTUAL RI Farm

DAIRY farmers and anyone with an interest in sustainable food production are being encouraged to tune into a virtual farm walk and webinar which will be broadcast live from the Fitzgerald family farm in County Waterford on Thursday, October 1.

This event will highlight the many steps being taken by the Fitzgerald family to reduce the carbon footprint of their milk production and to improve sustainability on farm, and will provide an opportunity to share their experiences with the wider farming community.

Shane Fitzgerald, pictured, who farms 92 hectares with his father near Portlaw, in County Waterford, will host this virtual event, which is being supported by Teagasc, Glanbia Ireland, the European Milk Forum and the National Dairy Council.

The virtual farm walk and webinar takes place at 11am and will include contributions from Shane Fitzgerald, host farmer; Zoe Kavanagh, spokesperson European Milk Forum and CEO National Dairy Council; Shane McElroy, Glanbia Ireland; and Brendan Horan, Teagasc Moorepark.

After the webinar, the Fitzgeralds, in collaboration with the European Milk Forum, will take over Teagasc Twitter and Instagram accounts to continue the discussion and share best practice with farmers and other interested parties.

To find out more and to register for the webinar visit www.teagasc.ie/sustainabledairywalk

Speaking ahead of the event, Shane Fitzgerald said: “Since I’ve taken over the family farm, I’ve been really proud to partner with Glanbia Ireland/Teagasc as part of their Open Source Future Farm programme to help drive innovation and sustainability across the farm – from the soil to the milking parlour, the cows to the hedgerows.”

Zoe Kavanagh, spokesperson European Milk Forum and CEO National Dairy Council, said: “Right across Ireland more and more farmers are taking actions, large and small, to improve sustainability, enhance biodiversity and reduce the carbon footprint of their farms, and I’m really looking forward to joining Shane to see first-hand the many actions he has taken on the family farm in Portlaw.”

Shane McElroy, Head of Technical at Glanbia Ireland, said: “We are delighted to see the firm commitment and the many actions being taken on the Fitzgerald family farm that positively impact the long-term environmental footprint of the farm. As a participant in Glanbia Ireland/Teagasc Open Source Future Farm programme, the approach to managing the farm provides an excellent benchmark for other farmers.”

Brendan Horan, Teagasc Moorepark, said: “Improving the efficiency of dairy systems is a significant challenge. By building on the very latest research, pasture-based grazing dairy farms can play a major role in supplying healthy foods from systems with few input requirements, while adapting to climate change and providing rich habitats for wildlife. The Fitzgeralds are a great example of what is possible when the very best science is put in practice by our leading farmers.”

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