Cork Grassland Services - a business founded and owned by 23-year-old Tim Casey is one that stemmed from his third-level work placement which he completed in Summer-2017.
Tim who was completing a Plant Science degree at University College Cork at the time, gained extensive experience at Teagasc Moorepark while working under Dr. Michael Egan.
“I had to carry out clover trials on eight farms, located in various parts of Ireland. I walked every paddock on the farm and visually scored the clover percentage.” Tim Casey told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“I arrived on the farm one summer day and the farmer handed me a map. He asked me if I would take the plate meter with me as I walked the farm.”
This is when the Innishannon, Co. Cork native experienced his light-bulb moment.
Although he was juggling a full-time degree, a position in a piggery and a post as a relief milker, Tim conducted some market research between August/September-2017.
After identifying a niche in the market, he purchased a plate meter and began to roll out grass measuring trials on the dairy enterprise where he relief-milked.
“I wanted to take the hardship out of grass measuring for farmers.” He noted.
Tim’s micro-enterprise snowballed as the farmer in question recommended the service to neighbouring farmers through word-of-mouth.
He travelled to various farms in the locality during the weekend and utilised this income to fund his third-level studies.
To reach out to a wider audience and market his business, Tim established a Twitter account under the @CorkGrass handle. This platform has been key to the continued success of his business which now counts in excess of sixty active customers.
“We were doing the grass measuring sporadically with 15-20 farms at the start due to the bad spring. May was my most difficult month - I found it challenging to juggle the business and college.”
Tim’s parents stepped in and visited farms in the locality until he completed his final-year exams in May.
In mid-May, Tim uptook a position as a Grassland Technician at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy and he hired two local employees in order to continue to run Cork Grassland Services.
“I plan their schedules at the weekend and it is working very well so far.” “July was a very quiet month for the business because of the drought and nearly all of our farmers stopped measuring, but things are back to normal now,” Tim added.
The business has grown from “strength-to-strength” according to its founder, as it now has an additional three employees and it has expanded its services. Customers can avail of a farm mapping service and can be registered for PastureBase Ireland free-of-charge.
Cork Grass Services employees walk the entire farm; obtain measures and input all data on PastureBase in order to supply the information to clients.
“Farmers have different requirements - some of them want you to help them calculate their surplus and deficit in order to construct a plan for a week.”
“Other clients have been grass measuring for years and they recognise the benefits of it, but they don’t have the time to do it. They contract the grass walks out to us.”
Tim plans to target up to seventy-five farms by the end of the year and aims to have one-hundred customers by Spring-2019.
The business will begin offering soil sampling services this winter and will expand into other parts of Munster overtime.
“In my mind, there is no limit in terms of how far we can go with this business. I want to push and grow this successful and profitable enterprise as far as possible.”
Social Mediacatherina@thatsfarming.com - and you may be featured on That’s Farming next week.