Kerry Farmer Focuses on Grassland Management Through the DLF Grass Partner Programme, to Drive Farm Success
Farming in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, dairy farmer Michael O’Sullivan officially joined the DLF grass partner programme at the initiatives annual grass partner meeting in Tullamore today. Launched last year, the programme brings the four participating dairy farmers on a journey to improve and expand their farming enterprise, with better grassland management their key focus. Through a combination of expert advice, top class varieties and unique access to the latest grass genetic material coming from DLF’s Irish breeding program, farmers involved will ultimately achieve “More Milk with DLF”.
At the event, all four participating dairy farmers were presented with soil nutrient advice from Teagasc’s soil and plant nutrition specialist Mark Plunkett, along with the latest varieties being introduced to the programme for 2018. Speaking at the event about the initiative Paul Flanagan, General Manager of DLF Ireland said “It’s been a very challenging Autumn and Spring for farmers, so now more than ever it’s important that farmers continue to invest in their grassland to improve their grass production. This programme has two stated objectives. Firstly, we aim to improve the grassland management approach of each of our four grass partners; ensuring they produce more milk from grass. Secondly, the partner farmers will be the first farms in the country to grow and utilise new grass varieties selected from our research site in Waterford. This is something that is completely unique to our industry and something that we are very excited about.”
Michael O’Sullivan, new grass partner joining the programme added; “For my wife Bernie and I the success of our farm is heavily rooted in proper grassland management. We’re really excited to be involved in the More Milk with DLF grass partner programme as we believe it will help us bring that to fruition. We reseeded 14 acres last August with DLF grass seeds and despite the weather we’re very happy with how it turned out. We plan to reseed 100% of the farm over the next 5-7 years.”
The group also visited the farm of local grass partners, Ivan and David Thomas in Rahan outside Tullamore. The Thomas’ has recently converted from a beef to a dairy enterprise and have made significant improvements in grassland management throughout the farm to aid this expansion.
In addition to Michael O’Sullivan, the four farmers participating in the initiative include; David Thomas farming in Co. Offaly who in partnership with his father Ivan has been converting from beef to dairy since last year and Eamonn Kent Co. Waterford, who is planning to maintain his stock numbers but produce more milk through better grassland management. The final farmer involved in the programme is David Hunter in Co. Tyrone, who started dairy farming 5 years ago and wants to get better at grassland utilisation before he expands. Grassland management and reseeding plans presented to each farmer were based on a full assessment of their farm.
Concluding Paul Flanagan said “Not only are we advising our partner farmers but educating a much wider community of farmers by sharing our progress on social media; we’ve had a really strong response from farmers to what we’ve been doing over the last year through social media and that’s exciting.”
The “More Milk with DLF” Grass Partner programme is a long-term project that will aid the grassland utilisation for the four farmers involved. Farmers across the island of Ireland can follow the participating farmers progress on twitter @DLF_IRL, on Facebook @DLFIreland or sign-up to DLF’s monthly newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.