Dairy sector has great story to tell - Muir

Date published: 27 February 2024

Long-term sustainability and economic viability are fundamental to the continued growth and success of the dairy sector, Farming Minister Andrew Muir has stressed.

DAERA Minister Andrew Muir is pictured with dairy farmer James Brown.

Speaking during a visit to James Brown’s commercial dairy farm in Co Down he said the sector has a great story to tell when it comes to a quality produce and reducing environmental impacts.

“Visiting James’ dairy farm, with its strong sustainability ethos, was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the challenges and concerns of the sector. We covered a wide range of issues from bTB, to market prices, the impact of the weather on grazing, support amongst his local Business Development Group, and the work he is doing to protect the environment,” said Minister Muir.

“His herd of Ayrshire cattle is one of some 2,537 dairy herds in Northern Ireland who are responsible for producing more than 2.5 billion litres of milk a year. The sector is vital to our economy, environment and indeed our health and we need to do all we can to help ensure their business are sustainable and profitable without impacting negatively on the planet.

“I was very impressed to learn about James’ passion of producing high quality milk and utilising top quality grazed grass for his 150 milking cows. His approach allows him to maximise use of grass for milk production, make efficient use of livestock manure and therefore keep levels of concentrate feed  and fertiliser low.

“This means he operates at a low phosphorus surplus, which is great for reducing the impacts on water quality. His approach is good for the cattle, the pocket and the environment.

“It is vital we ensure our policies and funding schemes support farmers like James to sustain their long-term viable whilst delivering improvements, efficiencies and a quality product in a sustainable way,” he added.

Notes to editors: 

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