Only 22 and plans to be milking 275 cows in Co. Galway

At only 22 years of age and less than two years into his dairy farming career Aurivo supplier, Kevin Moran has big plans for his future.

Originally from Clarmorriss in Co. Mayo, Moran currently farms in Cahirlestrane near Tuam in Co. Galway.

The youngest of 11 children, Moran explained to Agricultural Science Association (ASA) members on a recent Dairy Tour that farming the home farm wasn’t an option for him.

He completed his Green Cert in Mountbellew Agricultural College in 2013 and midway through the course he leased a 36ha block of land from his uncle.

“Starting up and obtaining finance, in particular, was very difficult.

I got refused finance nine times and got lucky on the tenth time, he explained.

Moran joked that his next plan was to pull an ATM out of the wall as nothing was going to stop him in his goal to be a dairy farmer.

He went on to win the 2013 Teagasc Student of the Year and this year was selected as a Nuffield Scholar.

Contract rearing – key move

A vital move during his first year in business according to Moran, was his decision to contract rear heifers.

In 2013, I got heifers contract reared, it allowed me to milk 100 cows. Contract rearing the heifers also made the whole system more streamlined.

Furthermore, Moran explained that the decision to go down the contract rearing route was key to his future plans.

“When I got the heifers contract reared it was my other uncle who contract reared them for me.

“That for me was a super opportunity in that it developed a relationship and we got on very well and it’s his farm now 48ha beside me that I will be leasing on the first of January on a 15-year lease.”

Next year, Moran says he will be calving down 200 cows and hopes to grow organically to 275 cows.

Dairy farming for me was never in doubt, I always had clarity around what I wanted to do, he said.

Aurivo Farm Profitability Programme

Moran also said that the Aurivo Farm Profitability Programme has been a huge part of his story.

The Aurivo Farm Profitability Programme was set up in 2014 to work closer with its milk suppliers in improving family farm incomes.

The programme itself is being coordinated by Roberta McDonald, and aims to increase output on farms, improve farm efficiencies and result in greater profitability.

The main aims of this programme are to focus on all aspects of farm management, specifically on grassland, breeding and financial management.

“It has benefited me no-end,” Moran said.

“Having access to the people involved and particularly going forward with an increasing herd size.

At 70 or 100 cows I could do it all myself. At 200-250 cows, the team comes into it then and the people you surround yourself with.

“For me that’s what the Farm Profitability Programme is about its access to that advice.

“My biggest issue is that I don’t know, what I don’t know and going forward and entering into the unknown with my expansion plans its going to be very important,” he said.