Dairy expansion in the next few years is not going to be as great as the last 10 years, Pat Dillion, head of animal and grassland research and innovation at Teagasc has said.

Dillon was speaking on the Teagasc Dairy Edge podcast ahead of the Moorpark open day later this month, highlighting the main issues facing the dairy industry in the next decade.

“The big challenges going forward now are around climate change issues, water quality, ammonia emissions and biodiversity," he commented.

“I suppose it's really up to us as an industry, how good we are in terms of owning up to those challenges, it will have a significant impact in how much we can expand in the next few years.

“I would be optimistic that there will be some expansion, but not near as much as we have seen in the past 10 years.”


Dillion said that delivering sustainability is key for the sector.

“Teagasc has published its MACC [Marginal Abatement Cost Curve], and that's shown the key technologies we need to adopt in terms of improving and reducing the carbon footprint of our milk, and improving the sustainability of our systems.

“We've talked about key technologies like protected urea, low emission slurry spreading, continuing to increase the EBI of the herd, greater uptake of white clover on our pastures to reduce chemical nitrogen, and lots more technologies.

“All those will lead us to a lower carbon footprint in terms of our meat production systems,” he said.

Open day

The 2021 Moorepark open day will take place over three days from 14 to 16 September. There will be the traditional in-person format during the day, with an additional virtual online forum each evening at 7pm.