THEgrass
rootsMOVEMENT

SEEDING THE FUTURE OF IRISH DAIRY

THEgrass
rootsMOVEMENT

SEEDING THE FUTURE OF IRISH DAIRY

Irish dairy farmers across the country are doing things differently, thinking about their impact, embracing new ways of operating and implementing world-leading technologies and farming practices.

0 %
of Irish dairy cows’ diet consists of grass

Low

Irish milk has a low production carbon footprint of 0.97kg per litre
0 %
of dairy farmers using low-emission manure spreading technology
0 %
of reseeding incorporated clover

THE RIGHT
ENVIRONMENT

There is a good reason why Irish dairy farming has been taking place our shores for 6,000 years. It’s because Ireland, in its climate and in its landscape, has natural advantages that make it the ideal location for producing high quality dairy products.

More so than almost any other location in the world, in fact.

Let’s start with the climate. Ours is temperate with plenty of rainfall which is ideal for the growth of grass, something that humans can’t consume but that cows can turn into nutritious and delicious milk. Then there’s the fact that 65% of Ireland is pasture – because that’s what it’s best suited to – where the grass grows and the cows graze somewhere between 240 and 300 days of the year. Irish cows are outside eating grass – not kept inside, fed exclusively what they call ‘concentrate’.

WE NURTURE
NATURE

Irish dairy farmers nurture pasture, hedgerows and trees which encourages biodiversity and absorbs CO2 emissions. Planting trees like willow and creating ponds planted with reeds helps absorb nutrients from waste farmyard water, reducing their impact on our streams and rivers.

THE LATEST
TECH

The incorporation of clover and other plants into the pasture, to complement the mainstay of perennial rye grass. Not only do the cows enjoy the mix of plants, and seem to be more productive grazing on them, these are plants that help fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilisers.

BETTER BRED

Breeding and feeding strategies, some developed here in Ireland, are seeking to address the methane emissions of our dairy herd. The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF) Economic Breeding Index (EBI) allows farmers to select genetic traits in their cattle, one of which is a COW that emits less methane.
Research into feed additives that also affect a cow’s emissions is taking place at locations around the country, particularly into how a grass-fed cow can be fed emission-reducing supplements and the answer could be via the animal’s water supply.

BEST IN CLASS

The truth is that demand for high-quality, nutritious dairy products is increasing and shows no slowing down. Around the world, people rely on dairy for the vitamins and minerals that they need for a healthy body. In Ireland, the government recommends three servings of milk, cheese or yoghurt daily.

VOICE OF THE FARMER
What The Farmers Say

The National Dairy Council Farmer Ambassador Programme brings together a team of Ireland's dairy producers and industry...

VOICE OF THE SCIENTIST
What The Scientists Say

The NDC has spoken with leading dairy scientists and researchers to find out what's next in Irish dairy enviro-sustainability.