Unlike many, Cork man Brian Galvin did not have to think twice when he had to make a big life-changing decision back in January of 2015.
Never daunted by a challenge, the then 20-year-old undertook a rather brave move and didn’t something that many wouldn’t have the courage to do.
Mr. Galvin took charge of the family-run dairy farm and formed an official farm partnership with his parents Paddy and Elma Galvin.
Many are left in wonder when trying to identify Brian’s light-bulb moment.
The Clonakilty Agricultural College Green Certificate graduate took a spin across the globe to New Zealand and South Dakota for a number of months and secured employment on some of largest dairy farms to be found.
‘‘It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Over there, they have a completely different system implemented, with a huge emphasis on grassland management and that’s something that you cannot compromise.’’ Brian explained.
The knowledge obtained from his time spent across the waters has proved to be hugely beneficial and has allowed the now 23-year-old dairy farmer to make waves in Kilbrittain, outside Bandon in West Cork.
‘‘My family have always been dairy farmers so when the golden opportunity came, I took it with open arms. When I returned home from New Zealand, I knew then that it was a perfect time for me to start farming.’’ Brian told Catherina of That’s Farming.
The third-generation farmer has come a long way from the time when he initially took hold of the ropes and is now recognised as one of Ireland’s leading dairy farmers.
100 Pedigree registered Holstein Friesian cows now dominate the 130 acres, all of which are managed under the ‘Clashavanna’ prefix.
The family have been involved with Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) from the very start of the establishment of the farm.
The fully classified herd follows a 100% A.I. Breeding programme, with all breeding females calved within a 10-week window.
All heifers calve-down at twenty-four months of age, in order to suit the current farming enterprise criteria.
The cows are currently averaging 8,500 litres and 680 kg milk solids, as the young dairy farmer continues to reap the rewards from a well-operated enterprise.
‘‘We place a lot of emphasis on Animal comfort and Animal Nutrition. The breeding programme takes priority also as the selection of quality genetics is paramount as that dictates the future genetic merit and potential of the herd.’’ Brian explained.
Carving out plans
Being an ambitious young farmer, Brian knows exactly where his herd is heading, as it continues to move up the ranks.
He has set a five-year goal to reach over 8,000 litres of milk and over 600kg of milk solids.
Three years into the programme, the ultimate goals have been successfully achieved, two years earlier than expected.
Mr. Galvin believes that good management is held responsible as the driving force behind this notable success.
‘‘Our system is based on high output and that is why Holstein Friesian cattle are ideal for our system. The cows are housed indoors up until April of every year and we also do a lot of Zero-Grazing and a 10kg Buffer-mix all year round.’’ Brian explained.
Macra na Feirme
Like many young farmers, Brian regards joining Macra na Feirme as one of the best decisions he has made.
Brian was finalist in the Macra na Feirme FBD Young Farmer of the Year Competition in 2015 and this year, he is once again nominated for the competition.
He has held many seats including Chairperson and currently sits as the current Treasurer of Carbery Macra.
When asked about his highlight in the farming sector so far, Brian draws attention to the hand-over of the large-scaled dairy farm when he was the tender age of twenty.
‘‘It meant something when he placed that faith in me and I was given such a massive responsibility. Following hot on the heels of that, would be achieving my five-year goal two years ahead of the initial deadline that I set.’’ Brian explained.
Wise Words of Wisdom
As someone who has come a long way in such a short period of time, Brian proves himself as an ideal candidate to give advice to our aspiring young farmers.
‘‘My advice is to travel and see as much of the world as you can. You will be home long enough running the farm, so never close a door on any opportunity that comes your way. I feel very passionate about Mental Health and I recognise just how important it is to have a social life behind it all. Have an outlet because it is important to close that farm gate’’ Brian explained.
The Bright Future
We have no doubt that the future will continue to shine bright for the young Cork man.
While he has no intentions to expand, many others plans are currently stirring in the pipeline.
‘‘I plan to breed what I have and get the most out of them. I haven’t set any other major goal for the herd since, but I would like to incorporate Animal Welfare and Cow Comfort as much as possible. I want to make the work around the yard easier. Another target of 800kgs of solid has been set, so I’d like to achieve that as an alternative to expansion.’’ Brian concluded.
If you are a young farmer and want to share your story, drop us a line.