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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Young blood will be very important in improving and driving our industry forward’

A radical assessment of the future of Irish milk production is the timely and critical theme of this year’s Fine-Tuning Irish Dairy Conference, which takes place tomorrow, Thursday, June 8th, 2023, in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island, Cork.

Now in its fifth year, the conference brings together industry experts and thought leaders to discuss the major issues facing Irish dairy farming, from reduced stocking rates to nitrates restrictions and Irish dairy’s social licence to produce.

Industry experts, researchers and farmers to meet at the event, sponsored by AXA Insurance, the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Enjoy, It’s From Europe.

Speakers at this free, full-day conference include:

  • Billy Kelleher MEP;
  • Karina Pierce, Professor of Dairy Production, UCD;
  • Michael Farrelly, Executive Director at the FTMTA;
  • TJ Flanagan, CEO, ICOS;
  • Denis Drennan, deputy president, ICMSA;
  • Dairy farmers, Joe Deane, Victor O’Sullivan and Mike Magan.

Topics covered will include:

  • The right cow for the future;
  • Machinery technology;
  • Coping with reduced stocking rates, animal welfare and nitrates restrictions ;
  • Irish dairy’s social licence to produce;
  • Addressing climate change on commercial dairy farms.
Dairy farmers comment

Dairy farmer, Joe Deane, who will be speaking at the event, commented on the importance of government support for the industry’s efforts in tackling climate action:

“There is great opportunity for dairy farmers in Ireland to run highly profitable and sustainable businesses going forward, once we are not strangled with regulation before new science and technology have the chance to be implemented to combat the challenges facing the industry, such as nitrates and climate change.”

“It is very important that the farming organisations and the government fight hard in Europe for the retention of our derogation at 250kg N /ha.”

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“If given more time, farmers can continue to help to improve water quality.”

“Irish farmers are very adaptable, and, given the opportunity, we will adapt to further improve the sustainability of our industry.”

“We need to make our industry more attractive for young people to come into, too, as this young blood will be very important in improving and driving our industry forward.”

Dairy farming, if simplified, can be very rewarding from both a lifestyle and financial point of view.”

Victor O’Sullivan, another dairy farmer who is speaking at the conference, also stressed the need for joined-up thinking between scientists, farmers and policymakers.

He said a significant challenge for the future would be maintaining political support regarding the issues of water quality and emissions.

The science, he said, involved does yield favourable results for Irish dairy farmers; what will have an impact is the political will to back the science.

To register for this free event, visit – Places are limited.

Photo credit: OSM Photography

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