On 7 July, dairy farmers and researchers in Ireland and New Zealand will come together to discuss the market for grass-fed dairy, environmental issues and on-farm practices to limit impacts on both the environment and farm profit.

The event is called Pasture Summit and it will be the first time a live event will be held simultaneously in Ireland and New Zealand.

Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, Irish farmers can log into the event online with only a small gathering permitted at Moorepark. There will be over 400 farmers at the New Zealand event being held in Hamilton, the dairy capital of New Zealand.


The opening session deals with the future for pasture-fed dairy. John Jordan, CEO of Ornua, will look at the market prospects. Robert Erhard, head of agriculture at Nestlé, will give the global food company’s perspective on the prospects for grass-fed dairy.

John Jordan, chief executive of Ornua.

\ Marc O'Sullivan

Jeremy Hill, professor at the Riddet Institute at Massey University in New Zealand and chief science and technology officer at Fonterra, will look at the role of dairy in feeding a growing global population.

Tom O’Callaghan, food science lecturer at University College Cork, will outline the role of pasture-fed dairy in human health and nutrition. A question and answer session with the above speakers will be chaired by John Roche, chief science adviser to New Zealand’s department of agriculture.


Pat Dillon from Teagasc and Bruce Thorrold from Dairy NZ will outline where dairy farming and research is at regarding the environment, particularly water quality, and where it needs to go. Both men are heading up dairy research in their respective organisations. That session is being chaired by Leonie Guiney, dairy farmer and director of Fonterra.

The issues around farming practices and their relationship with water quality is being addressed by two scientists – Eddie Burgess from Teagasc, who is part of the Agricultural Catchments Programme and David Burger, his counterpart from Dairy NZ. This presentation will look at the impact of stocking rate and inputs on nitrate levels in groundwater.

Farmers are rightly worried about the impact of new environmental restrictions on farm profit and the viability of the family farm. Laurence Shalloo from Teagasc and Mark Neal from Dairy NZ will look at the menu of options available to dairy farmers and assess the effectiveness of each and the effect they will have on farm profit.

Farmer focus

Waterford-based farmers Gillian and Neil O’Sullivan and New Zealand farmers Glenn Jones and Sarah Brett will outline their approach to reducing their environmental footprint while at the same time running profitable dairy farm businesses.

Gillian O'Sullivan discusses climate change and the environment at the Irish Farmers Journal Dairy Day back in 2018. \ Philip Doyle

They will outline their current status and future plans towards producing milk with a lower environmental footprint.

What is Pasture Summit?

Pasture Summit is an organisation established in 2018 made up of dairy farmers and research scientists in Ireland and New Zealand.

The purpose of Pasture Summit is for the two countries to collaborate, share ideas, explore new ways of thinking and maintain the competitiveness of grass-based dairy farming.

The chair of the Irish steering group is Longford farmer Mike Magan, while his counterpart in New Zealand is dairy farmer Colin Armer.

Tickets for the 7 July online event are available to purchase at www.pasturesummit.co.nz. Pasture Summit is sponsored by the Irish Farmers Journal, Teagasc and ifac. Tickets are €50 each.