Tirlán at the Ploughing

Agribusiness All Beef Co-op Corporate Dairy

Thousands flocked to the Tirlán stand at the National Ploughing Championships with the Avonmore milk bar and a series of topical talks again attracting strong interest.

Some took shelter from the weather to hear discussions on boosting biodiversity, improving water quality, nitrates derogation and the dairy market outlook on the Tirlán stage.


Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, highlighted the importance of working together to drive sustainability on farm and the future of the Nitrates Derogation. The Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the current Nitrates Derogation limits will be reduced on January 1st 2024 from 250kg/ha to 220 kg/ha. However, this is still a derogation as the EU Nitrates Directive permits the use of a maximum 170 kg of organic nitrogen per hectare.

The Minister highlighted that the focus must now be on improving water quality to maintain the derogation at the 220kg/ha level into the future. He emphasised that Ireland will remain one of only three remaining EU Member States with a derogation that is in place until 1st January 2026.

“There’s a really sustainable future in terms of farm livelihoods and farm families across this country. That derogation is massively important to it and I want to recognise the work that farmers are doing and we need to continue that work,” he said.

Tirlán CEO, Jim Bergin, said a strong focus must be maintained on improving water quality and maintaining the Derogation for Ireland at the new level of 220kg/ha. “Farmers are still trying to absorb it and it is tough. It is hard for me to say this but we need to move on as the 250kg/ha is gone and we have to focus on maintaining the 220kg/ha.

“We have two years and three months to do everything that we can to prove that we can farm at the level we are farming at now. For every farmer who has a river or a stream on their farm now, just think about what you can do to improve the water quality of that stretch of the river. So everybody does their piece and we need to work together to improve the water quality together.”

The Tirlán stand was also used to showcase our new offerings in the consumer category to consumers and offer samples of fresh milk.

Linda Sheehan, Tirlán’s Head of Marketing in Consumer, spoke about innovation in the category which now includes the new Avonmore Fibre-plus Milk and Oat drink ranges. She also highlighted the importance of the nutritional benefits of milk.  

“It is important that we educate consumers all through the life cycle on the importance of dairy and milk in their diets,” she told the audience in the marquee, with our Super Milk range specifically designed to provide a source of Vitamin D.

“We have continued to innovate. This year, in particular, we have extended the range into a couple of new products to include Avonmore Oat Drinks and the Avonmore Fibre-plus milk that was developed to meet a specific need. In the Irish market, 80% of consumers are deficient in fibre, facts show.”

There was strong interest in the bespoke FarmGen solar package and the Twenty20 Beef Club, with a large volume of suppliers also declaring their actions and signing up for their Sustainability Action Payment worth 0.5cpl (including VAT).


First Published 20 September 2023


See all articles