Laurence Shalloo, head of dairy research at Teagasc, said what has been achieved by the dairy sector since the removal of milk quota is amazing, but more of a focus is needed on people within the sector and on water quality.
Speaking on Stage 1 at Dairy Day 2023 on a vision of dairy farming in Ireland by 2030 regarding water quality, he said, along with input at political level, dairy farmers also need to look within their own farm gates at what they can do around ensuring they reduce risk of excess nutrients - especially on platforms that are highly stocked.
“If the nutrients aren’t flowing back to the outside blocks, then we have a problem. Getting them to flow back to where they should be going is essential.”
On the topic of calves, Mick Houlihan, senior manager for farm sustainability with Bord Bia said: “We have been performing well on calf exports. They’re up 25% on last year. That includes a 50% increase into Dutch market, 25% rise to Spain.
"The message we get back is they want those calves.”
When asked by the Irish Farmers Journal editor, Jack Kennedy, if that demand for calves will continue, Holohan responded: “That’s the challenge - ultimately, we don’t know.
"Do I think there will be further restrictions? Yes, these could be about a certain age or journey times, and if they are, then what are the things that need to happen?”
On a more positive note, he added:
“We are operating within a free market, so that’s something we have to keep in mind - the same rules have to apply across all member states even though we are an island state off the coast of Europe.”