Ireland will do away with milk quotas in 2015. Gerry Culligan came to Expo to find ways to be more competitive.
International visitors flock to
World Dairy Expo
World Dairy Expo’s commercial trade show was a highlight of a weeklong tour of the U.S. dairy industry for Irish dairy producer Gerry Culligan in 2011. The tour was organized for 100 Irish dairy producers by the Kerry Group, a leading publicly held foods company with roots in Ireland.
"I came to obtain and glean things that I can bring back to my farm and improve the quality of my cows," Culligan says.
"There are so many great exhibits here," he says of the trade show. "Everywhere you turn, you find yourself saying, ‘That’s a really good idea, one that will work on my farm and make me more profitable.’"
Culligan milks 100 cows—mostly Holsteins and British Friesian cattle—in a 150-acre, pasture-based, spring calving operation in County Clare on Ireland’s west coast. The production average for the herd is currently 12,000 lb. per cow per year. He wants to increase that by 30% or more by 2020.
"Ireland is going to be doing away with its quota system in 2015, and that’s going to bring about a situation where milk production ratchets up very rapidly over the next five years. We’ll have to be ready."
Reaching his production target will require Culligan to focus more attention on his breeding program. "The big thing in Ireland right now is the Economic Breeding Index, where cows and bulls are rated on a variety of factors like repeat breeding, feet and udder quality, ease of calving and so forth," he says.
"There are so many genetics companies at Expo. I had the chance to talk to some very knowledgeable representatives about similar kinds of systems being used in America."
Improving his nutrition program is another of Culligan’s goals. "I wanted to find out more about feeding concentrates to increase solids and protein in milk. The challenge always is to come up with just the right mix. With so many different companies on the grounds, I was able to get a lot of good information in a relatively short period of time."
Mexican dairy producer Oscar Terrazas made his first trip to World Dairy Expo in 2011. "I came here because I heard it was the biggest dairy event in the world," he says. "I wanted to see it for myself."
Terrazas milks 160 Holstein cows in a drylot dairying setup near Chihuahua, Mexico. The production average for the herd is 65 lb. per cow per day.
- August 2012