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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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IGA Dairy Conference: Meet the 7 speakers

The Irish Grassland Association’s forthcoming dairy conference features seven industry-leading speakers.

The event, for which Yara is the headline sponsor of, will take place at the Talbot Hotel, Clonmel, on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022.

Grassland conference

Speakers include:

  • Prof Brendan Horan;
  • Bobby Hovenden;
  • Dr Mary Kinston;
  • Prof Laurence Shalloo;
  • Dr Nollaig Heffernan
  • Mark Cassidy;
  • TJ Kelly.
TJ Kelly

TJ farms in Tuam, County Galway, where he milks 300 cows on two milking platforms with 160 cows on the home farm and 140 cows on a rented farm 3 miles away.

In 2021, the herd – with a 90% 6-week calving rate – produced 503 kg of milk solids per cow (4.53% fat and 3.75% protein).

TJ employs two full-time staff members and additional part-time staff.

He is passionate about “creating an excellent environment for all staff working on the farm”.

Mark Cassidy

Mark, Kells, County Meath operates a 370-cow spring calving herd.

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In 2020, the herd produced 503kg of milk solids (485kg sold per cow, 5.13 % fat and 3.92% protein) with 800 kg meal fed per cow.

The whole farm stocking rate is 2.47 LU/ha, with the milking platform stocked at 3.02 LU/ha.

The calving interval this year was 368 days, and 83% of the herd calved in the first six weeks of the calving season.

Bobby Hovenden

Meanwhile, Bobby and Valerie Hovenden, Durrow, Co. Laois have reduced cow numbers because of labour and lifestyle considerations.

They reduced the size of their dairy unit from a peak of 160 cows in 2018.

Last year, they milked an average of 128 cows producing 580 kg of milk solids sold per cow (4.83% fat and 3.87% protein) with 1.2 tonnes of meal fed per cow.

The farm stocking rate is 2.0 livestock units per hectare.

Dr Nollaig Heffernan

Nollaig works as an independent management consultant specialising in leadership and organisational psychology. She is an author, specialist lecturer and conference speaker with a BA in applied psychology and with a PhD in leadership psychology.

She works internationally across all sectors but is best known in the agricultural sector for presenting on leadership, employment, resilience, and time management.

As a consultant, she helps businesses to improve their performance by increasing the efficiency of their most valuable asset, their people.

Prof Brendan Horan

Brendan is a Principal Research Officer with Teagasc at Moorepark.

His research work currently involves the evaluation of low nitrogen input grazing systems with ongoing projects at Curtins Farm, Moorepark and Ballyhaise Agricultural College, Co. Cavan.

He has published extensively on the productivity and economic and environmental impacts of grazing systems.

He is a graduate of University College Dublin with a PhD in Animal Science, the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and the MBA programme at University College Cork.

Prof Laurence Shalloo

Laurence is Head of the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Programme based in Teagasc Moorepark.

Laurence graduated from University College Dublin with a first-class honours degree in Agricultural Science in 1999, and completed his PhD in 2004 on the development and use of the Moorepark Dairy Systems Model to analyse institutional and technical changes in dairy farming.

He joined the research staff at Moorepark in 2004. Laurence is also Deputy Director of the SFI/DAFMfunded VistaMilk Research Centre and is an Adjunct Professor at UCC.

Dr Mary Kinston

Furthermore, Mary is an independent dairy discussion group facilitator, working mainly across Connacht and Munster. Her aim is to “help farmers help themselves”.

Mary farms in partnership with her husband, Kevin, with a 500-strong herd across two milking platforms.

Originally from Derbyshire in the UK, she completed a BSc and PhD from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

She has worked in New Zealand as a consulting officer for Dairy NZ.

After meeting a Kerry man, she took what she described as “a brave step” and emigrated to the Emerald Isle.

Other farming news articles on That’s Farming:

Doing the basics right to be conference’s focus

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