Cow Grazing

Our Open Source™ Future Farm Programme

19 June 2020
Sustainable Story

At Glanbia Ireland we firmly believe knowledge is an enabler that helps people bring best practice to life.  

We have teamed up with Teagasc, the national farm advisory service, in a new programme that helps farmers learn through best practices and changes being implemented on a series of development farms.  

The joint Open Source Future Farm Programme involves 11 farmers from across the Glanbia Ireland catchment area. Over a five-year programme, which commenced in 2019, they will demonstrate best practices in delivering efficiencies and environmental improvements on their farms.  

This latest evolution of the Teagasc/Glanbia Ireland knowledge transfer programme will seek to harness advancements in technology and farm practices to support farmers in making the necessary changes for a profitable and sustainable future. 

The 11 farms will be part of the EU-funded Smart Agri Hubs dairy project. Monitoring and improving water and energy usage will be a key aim and the outcome will aid all farmers across the Glanbia Ireland supply base in the efficient use of water and energy.  

Digital Technologies 

A key priority in the programme will be to introduce digital technologies and practices, particularly in the area of labour efficiency. It will provide strong insights for other farmers on streamlining their farming operation to deliver lean management practices, whilst also supporting the health and well-being of the farmer.  

Strong emphasis will be placed on soil nutrient management, utilising high yields of quality grass, effective nitrogen usage, and the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) of the herds to help boost productivity.   

Online Learning and Farm Walks 

There will be regular opportunities to learn about the advancements being made on the farms, including regular online updates in the form of videos, social media and articles on our farming hub In addition, it's expected that both virtual and physical farm walks will be held on the 11 farms, which vary in size and soil types across the Glanbia Ireland catchment area. They are located in Laois, Waterford, Kildare, Cork, Kilkenny, Meath, Wexford, Wicklow and Tipperary.  

Glanbia Ireland’s CEO Jim Bergin said he hoped the five-year programme will help family farms adopt efficiencies to grow their businesses sustainably and profitably into the future. 

“A key objective of this programme is to help farmers implement changes to ensure that their environmental footprint is in line with the aims of the national Climate Action Plan,” he said. 

Glanbia Ireland Chairman Martin Keane thanked the 11 farm families for agreeing to participate in the programme. “Our farmers should be recognised for their generosity in agreeing to open up their farms for the benefit of their fellow farmers.” 

Thanking the participating farmers and their families, Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said, “Demonstration farmers have a major role to play in the application of scientific findings and the spreading of best practices and innovative farming approaches to their fellow farmers.” 

Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director, said the programme had a key role to play in bringing leadership. “Farming systems have to evolve to tackle multiple challenges, and this is especially true now in relation to the multi-faceted sustainability challenge, including the need to improve water quality, reduce agricultural emissions and maintain biodiversity,” he said.  

The Farms 

The farms selected are well-developed dairy units with a production system reflective of the Glanbia milk pool. They are also multi-generational and open sharing the learnings from their development journey under the aims of the programme. 

Management & Technical support 

Provision of technical services and management of the programme will be delivered by John Murphy, Glanbia Ireland Farm Development Manager and Richard O’Brien, Teagasc Dairy Business and Technology Advisor.   

Farmers can also follow regular updates on the Open Source Future Farm programme through social media and in-depth reports on and 

The 11 Open Source Future Farm participants  

  • Thomas Fennelly, Portarlington, Co Laois 

  • Shane and John P Fitzgerald, Portlaw East, Co Waterford 

  • Steven Fitzgerald, Aglish, West Waterford 

  • Donal Kavanagh, Baltinglass, Co Wicklow 

  • Jack and Larry Kearney, Rathcormack, Co Cork 

  • Cathal Moran, Skeoghvosteen, Co Kilkenny 

  • Mathew and Declan Mullen, Kells, Co Meath 

  • Kevin Murphy, Gorey, North Wexford 

  • Francis Nolan, Muckalee, North Kilkenny 

  • John Ryan, Gortnahoe, Co Tipperary 

  • Shay Ryan, New Ross, Co Wexford