Speaking at the launch of the new dairy unit at UCD Lyons estate, Minister Coveney said that the event marked the beginning of “an exciting path of growth expansion” for the dairy industry.

“We’ll see an extra 5,000 people milking cows in the next five to seven years in Ireland,” said Coveney. “It gives me huge satisfaction to launch this facility at the end of this term of Government. It just goes to show how far we have come.”

He emphasised his hope that “future governments will continue what is now an agreed mapping out of the food industry in 10-year horizons” as completed recently with the Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025 strategies.

Collaboration between research and industry

The opening of UCD’s new dairy research facility demonstrated the commitment of the Irish agricultural industry to the dairy sector and collaboration between industry, private sector, research and academia. Led by Karina Pierce and Finbarr Mulligan of UCD, the €2.3m investment received backing from seven companies.

“Without the leadership of UCD, a project of this ambition would not happen in Ireland,” said Coveney. “We need to find intelligent and sustainable ways to achieve growth and overcome barriers. We want to have the most efficient family farms on our planet and to have people buy our product because it feels good to purchase from a safe and sustainable source.’’

The new rotary milking parlour at Lyons estate can milk 40 cows in eight minutes and, according to Karina Pierce, will be a key facility for veterinary and agricultural students. Research at the Lyons estate will focus on a number of different areas, including winter milk production.

“We have been able to expand from 100 to 200 cows here at UCD coinciding with quota abolition,” said Pierce. “We are looking at grass-based dairy production, but probably a little more focused on fragmented land banks and expansion in that sort of scenario.”

Watch an interview with Karina Pierce and take a tour of the new buildings in our video below: