Cork farmers detail highs and lows of new entrant dairying

Farmers interested in converting or expanding their business gathered in Cork today (Thursday, June 28) to learn more about the first-hand experiences of Robert and Daniel Cronin on their farm in Oysterhaven near Kinsale.

Farmers also had the opportunity to speak to experts from Teagasc and Ulster Bank about the opportunities, challenges, best practice and benefits of conversion and expansion.

Prior to conversion to dairying in 2017 the Cronins operated a tillage and suckler farm.

While looking to the future and facing falling margins in tillage and beef, the Cork farmers decided to explore the possibility of converting their farm in 2015.

With the help of Don Crowley from Teagasc and Patrick Gowing of the Teagasc Dairy Expansion Service, a business plan was developed to plot their journey into dairying, while Ulster Bank provided financial support and sectoral expertise.

Speaking about their decision, Daniel Cronin said: “It was a big decision to convert our farm and it was a career change for me.

“But having the back-up of Teagasc and the support of Ulster Bank, which financed our business plan, gave me a lot of comfort and I knew that we were doing the right thing for the farm and my family.

The farm walk gave farmers the opportunity to see all elements of conversion to a highly successful dairy business from parlour infrastructure, grazing infrastructure, herd performance, genetics, and business planning.

Ulster Bank agriculture manager Dr. Anne Marie Butler also commented at the event, saying: “Farm walks are a great opportunity for the farming community to come together and share information and experiences.

“We’re delighted that our customers, the Cronin family, have taken part to help other new farmers learn and benefit from their experience.”