The Irish Dairy Industry is a thriving industry with a national dairy herd of 1.14 million cows producing over 5.4 billion litres of milk. During your dairy farm tour it is possible to see first-hand Ireland's renowned reputation for sustainable grass-based production systems that enable Ireland's dairy farmers to produce high quality and nutritious dairy products.
Ireland's Dairy Farmer's operated for three decades under a milk quota system sanctioned by the EU (European Union). This quota system ceased on April 1st 2015. Now due to the abolishment of the quota system, Ireland is on target to produce 50% more milk by the year 2020. As part of your dairy farm tour, Irish farmers can talk to you about how they worked under the milk quota system and how they plan to expand operations to produce more milk now the quota system has been lifted. All of this must be done without diminishing the quality of the milk which will also be explained on your dairy tour.
Dairy farming tours of Ireland can also include an overview of the relationship between Irish dairy farmers and the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) now known as Ornua after rebranding. Ornua sells and look after the marketing on behalf of the Irish dairy farmer.
Ireland has the most sustainable dairy farming system in the world as our dairy products are produced from the milk of grass fed cows. Irish cows graze on rich green grass for up to 300 days a year! Regular rainfall means irish soil is naturally irrigated and void of water stress. Two thirds of the land in Ireland is in use by agriculture, and as part of the dairy tours of Ireland you can set foot on the luscious green grass of which makes up 80% of the nation's farmland.
On your dairy farm tour your group can learn about the management of grassland and see the typical dairy cow diet:
A typical Irish dairy herd diet consists of grass whether fresh or conserved. Unlike most countries, the Irish dairy herd is housed outdoors nearly all year round only moving indoors when grass growth halts in the winter months. Therefore a farmers ability to manage the grassland is vital for success and achieving a productive dairy herd.
At Agri Tours Ireland, during your dairy farm tour you may be able to witness the two main types of grazing systems in practise in Ireland.
On your dairy tour you can discuss the best practise on grassland management with expert Irish farmers including:
Silage, maize and concentrates are part of a dairy cow's diet whether as winter diet or as a supplement to grass. A visitor's experience of this aspect will depend on the time of year that your dairy tour of Ireland takes place.
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