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HomeBeefIrish Rare Breeds Society gears up for a 3-day jam-packed conference
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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Irish Rare Breeds Society gears up for a 3-day jam-packed conference

The Talbot Hotel, Carlow (R93Y504) is set to play host to the Irish Rare Breeds Society’s three-day 2023 conference on May 4th, 5th and 6th, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.

Commencing on Thursday evening at 7 pm, guest speakers will include National Geographic featured Goatherd Melissa Jeuken and Old Irish Goat Conservation Specialist will present a talk entitled the goat that fights fire.

William Cormaco, Regional Manager of NPWS, will then discuss the Cladoir sheep, detailing the incredible story of the survival of one of Ireland’s oldest Landraces of sheep and their role within Connemara National Park.

Friday session

Following on into Friday, commencing at 9.30 am, the society looks towards the future of the Irish agri-food sector and the real-world benefits attainable through the protection and utilisation of biodiversity to the farmers’ advantage.

With two keynote speakers from the USA:

Professor of Pathology and Genetics, Virginia Tech University, Dr. Philip Sponenberg, presents on breeding strategies and policies for endangered breeds, outlining the breeding protocols necessary to prevent the loss of genetic diversity within rare breeds, and

Professor of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Dr Les Hansen, presents dairy cattle breeding and the role of crossbreeding, which will explore the benefits of crossbreeding within the dairy herd and the potential resource within native Irish dairy breeds of cattle.

Irish expert in low emission awards, Dr. Thomas Maloney, formerly of Teagasc, now product manager with DLF, will present on low emission swards and alternative crops for future farm systems, showing that in these times of high input costs, real-world profitability can be maintained through embracing biodiversity.

Workshops, farm walk & BBQ

Friday afternoon will comprise two concurrent break-out workshops with both our international panellists.

Patrons are encouraged to bring forward challenges they encounter in their own farming systems for both speakers to offer solutions.

Saturday 6th, will see a farm walk on one of Ireland’s largest native-breed dairy farms, that of Matthew English Hayden, with over 100 head of native-bred cattle being milked on multi-species swards.

The farm walk concludes with a complimentary BBQ.

A spokesperson for the society told this publication:

“The IRBS has gone to extraordinary lengths to produce a line-up that will pique the interest of commercial dairy farmers keen to reduce the bottom line without sacrificing profitability as well as rare breed conservation enthusiasts involved in the new ACRES keen to stem biodiversity loss on Irish farms.”


Tickets and further information are available via this external link.

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