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Executive Summary

One of the key targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 report was a 50% increase in milk production by 2020. This will require a growth in milk deliveries from an average of 5.1 billion litres over the 2007 to 2009 period, to 7.66 billion litres in 2020. In addition to increased productivity, this will require an increase in the size of the national herd from its current 1.1 million, to about 1.4 million, dairy cows.. This increase in milk production will take place on existing family farms plus on new farm conversions from alternative enterprises.

A new dairy demonstration, Shinagh Dairy Farm, has been developed at Shinagh estate in Bandon Co.Cork. This will be a collaborative project between the four West Cork Co-Ops (Bandon, Barryroe, Lisavaird, and Drinagh) Carbery Milk Products Ltd. and Teagasc. The farm of approximately 80 ha has been leased for 15-years. This farm will be used by the Teagasc national Greenfield BETTER farm programme to demonstrate best practice in the conversion of a beef farm to dairying and in the in the operation of a 200 cow single operator dairy farm with strategic use of casual labour.

Five family owned dairy farms will be identified in the region (one each in Bandon Co-op, Barryroe Co-op, Lisavaird Co-op, and two in Drinagh Co-op) with expansion potential and willing to participate in the project over the next 5-years. At least one of these farms will be a new entrant to dairy production. Over this period Teagasc will provide intensive technical support to these five farm families. In return these five farms will be available to host public events and data pertaining to these farms will be available for extension purposes.

This project will generate significant amounts of valuable information including weekly management decisions and performance data and annual financial and technical efficiency data. Teagasc will manage the dissemination of information from the farm. This will be done through the Teagasc advisory network as part of the BETTER farm programme, national open days, regular publications in farm newsletters and appropriate electronic media such as web site. The detailed financial performance of the farm operations will be published regularly.

Teagasc has assigned a dairy specialist full time to the programme that will be responsible for the monitoring, information management, reporting and extension of information associated with the programme. A full-time farm manager who is responsible for the day-to-day management of Shinagh Dairy farm has been hired and will report to the Teagasc dairy specialist. Teagasc will provide management services to the project which will include business planning, technical support and an extension programme.

The success of the programme will be determined by the level of expansion of dairying nationally and the improvement in profitability of dairy farmers who undertake expansion and the frequency and quality of new Greenfield enterprises converted from beef production to dairying


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