Teagasc Moorepark Open Day
On Wednesday this week I joined an estimated 13,000 other people at the latest Moorepark open day. The first thing that strikes you is the fantastic organisation of the day, and it would be wrong of me not to congratulate all concerned for their considerable effort.
The day started with a visit to the five main platforms, here you had researchers discussing “The Principles Of Sustainable Expansion” “Building Management Capabilities” “Milk Production From Pasture” “Achieving 5.5 Lactations Per Cow” and “Healthy Herd Healthy Profit”. These initial stages set the scene by explaining some of the key drivers of profit, and setting out quite deliberately the template that the whole industry wanted farmers to follow, with the reasons for this strategy hammered home by an enormous amount of scientific research to back up this template.
What impressed me the most was the fact that this message was coming at farmers from all angles, the minister of agriculture was fully behind it, as were the researchers, the milk processers, the genetics companies, the banks and the advisors. So basically you had an entire industry being mobilised in one direction along a proven path for the benefit of everyone.
There were way too many topics to cover in one short article but there were in my opinion three key areas that were strongly emphasised, firstly was the grassland management, there was a huge amount of research in this area explaining how farmers can grow more grass, from measuring and recording, to re-seeding, to drainage, to clover etc. Secondly there was general management, emphasising the need to up skill yourself and your staff, the need to measure performance whether it be financial performance or animal performance, and the need to pay close attention to detail. The third big message was the need to have the right type of cow, and there were numerous stations proving the success of the EBI index in breeding more profitable cows, there was the evidence from the next generation herd which showed a huge difference in fertility between the top EBI cows and the average EBI cows, but the EBI is also delivering on the longevity front and on the milk quality front as well. Tegasc Moorepark are constantly monitoring the EBI index and are able to prove scientifically that it delivers what it is designed to – increased profit.
There were many different areas covered at the event with farm safety, handling animals safely, food research, animal health being but a few, but every single research project was very relevant and very practical for everyday farmers, and was put across in a sensible manner in farmers language, which meant you could relate to it and understand it.
I cannot emphasise enough how impressed I was with the whole day, and also the amount of knowledge gained and re-affirmed, all in all a terrific day.