Jack Kennedy, Aidan Brennan and Stephen Connolly visited and toured farms and processing facilities around the country discussing topics including handling facilities, farmyard design, calf housing and feeding, grassland management, multispecies sward, maximising milk solids and we following the journey of Kerrygold butter from Cork to Chicago.

Watch all three episodes below.

Session 1

Virtual Dairy Day 2020 – Episode 1.

Butter from Cork to Chicago – We follow Irish milk crossing the Atlantic Ocean to American supermarkets as Kerrygold butter. We show where and how Kerrygold butter is made, what sets it apart from its competitors and why American consumers have made it the second most popular branded butter in America. Aidan Brennan visits the farm of Tom and Tadhg Butler in Templetuohy, Co Tipperary, who have installed U-shaped gates to make calf feeding a doddle.

He then visits Miletree Farm outside Clonmel where over 500 calves can be housed in a new calf shed.

We speak to farm manager Graham Swanton about how the system works.

Stephen Connolly catches up with the Navan Grassland management group to see what’s involved in a typical day on the Irish Farmers Journal’s grassland management course. We also get an insight into how the host farmer Derek Croal built grass to extend the grazing season this autumn and what he will target when he starts grazing this spring.

Dairy team discussion

The dairy team have a live discussion after episode 1 of Virtual Dairy Day.

Session 2

Virtual Dairy Day 2020 – Episode 2.

Dairygold has invested over €400m in extra processing capacity over the last ten years. The Nutritionals Campus at Mallow, Co Cork, has cost a significant chunk of that money. We show how the milk is dried down and how future changes might impact on farmer’s milk price.

Aidan Brennan visits the farm of John Butler in Tipperary and speaks to farm management student Michael Boland about how their handling system works. It includes a crush, AI race, turn-over crate and automated drafting gate. Stephen catches up with top-performing dairy farmer Brian Hogan to find out how he is achieving such good milk solid production from grass and what he targets during the year to maximise grass growth and utilisation.

Dairy team dicussion

Aidan Brennan, Jack Kennedy and Stephen Connolly have a live discussion about episode 2 of Virtual Dairy Day.

Session 3

Virtual Dairy Day 2020 – Episode 3.

We visit the farm of Daniel Rundle from Co Louth who is planning to go from 100 to over 140 cows in the coming years. He needs a new milking parlour, cubicle shed and silage pit. We discuss the various options.

Stephen Connolly asks the question “What is a multispecies sward and will it have a place on Irish dairy farms?” Stephen talks to Aidan Lawless the dairy unit manager in Johnstown Castle where they are currently running trials to see how a multispecies sward performs on a milking platform.

Livestock production in Ireland is responsible for the majority of national ammonia emissions. Jack Kennedy asks why this is important, are there solutions to mitigating ammonia levels, what are Irish milk suppliers doing or what more can they do.

Dairy team discussion

The dairy team discuss some take-home points from the Virtual Dairy Day event.