Starting Dairying Through Partnership21 February 2013
Starting a dairy partnership requires; communication, the right balance of experience and qualifications; and appropriate finances, according to Ciaran and Seamus Seery who have doubled their herd size since 2002.
After qualifying from Mountbellew Agricultural College in 1996, I spent three years with the Farm Apprentice Board (FAB) programme and worked in Galway, Kilkenny and Meath. I quali?ed in 1999. My father, Seamus, was still actively farming at home, so I worked on dairy farms after qualifying from FAB and by 2002 I was working as a farm manager. Working away from home allowed me to experience different farm operations or as my father says “knocked the edges off me”.
It was always my intention to return back to the home farm. However at the time the farm was carrying 55 dairy cows and rearing all claves to stores. Did the farm have the potential to deliver an income to me and to my parents? At the time the Celtic Tiger was really starting to take hold and many of my friends were getting big wages on construction jobs around the country. It was decision time for me and my family. At the same time the partnership scheme was launched. We were advised by our Teagasc Adviser at the time, Peter Burke, that we were eligible to form a farm partnership.
The main advantage for the partnership at the time was we could freely access quota. We sat down with our adviser, accountant and solicitor and drew up the partnership agreement.
Our plan was to increase cow numbers and continue to improve ef?ciency. On entering the partnership, we purchased as much quota as possible. Having bought the quota we were now in a rush to grow our cow numbers to match our quota size. We expanded rapidly. Maybe, in hindsight, we would have built slower over time and concentrated more on breeding, but we did bene?t over the last 10 years from an increased Single Farm Payment.
Progress to Date
2002: Partnership formed
Milking 55 cows
Started to purchase quota
Started to purchase cows
2004 Joined Purchasing Group
2008 Built new cubicle shed
No more cows purchased
2008 Built slurry storage (lagoon)
2009 New milking parlour (20 units)
Part of the farm transferred to me
2012 Milking 110 cows, rearing surplus replacements
Stocked at 3.45 cows on the milking block
|Table 1: Cow Numbers and Performance Over the Last 10 Years|
Further ReadingYou can view the full report by clicking here.