Born and raised in the vicinity of the small village of Ballyhack in Co. Wexford, Padraic Murphy has been involved in the agricultural world for the majority of his 25 years.
He was born into a farming household and is the third-generation of the Murphy family to have worked with and dealt livestock. His grandfather Paddy was the man to start the venture, before the mantle was passed onto Padraic’s father, Patrick.
“My grandfather started it (farming) and then my father took over.” said Padraic.
“We started fairly small at the start and we have been growing since. My grandfather started with dairy cows years and years ago, with a small herd, then my father got into feeding cattle and became an agent,” he continued.
Padraic’s father has now been working as a livestock agent for many years and the family operate their own feedlot farming system, finishing a high-quantity of cattle on a regular basis at a local factory. They mainly keep Angus-type stock, but also keep a number of continentals and a small portion of Friesian types.
“We finish a lot of Angus, an early maturing breed.” Padraic explained.
“We do continentals after that. We do a certain amount of Friesians as well, but not as many.”
In terms of the type of animal finished on the Ballyhack farm, they don’t stick to any one type of system, instead finishing everything from bullocks to heifers, cull cows and a small number of bulls.
“We do a bit of everything, bullocks and heifers mainly.” Padraic explains to Kevin.
“We finish a certain amount of cows too and a few bulls.”
All animals are finished on a specially-devised ration, which contains a mixture of silage, oats, beets, maize meal, soy hulls, barley, straw. All fodder is bought in by the Murphy’s bar silage, which is what their farmland is used for.
“They are all on a mixed ration…We feed silage, beet, maize meal, soya hulls, barley, straw…We mix it all ourselves, to a point.” Padraic said.
“All of the feed is bought in bar silage, we grow our own silage.”
Padraig’s Journey home -
25-year-old Padraig explained it was always inevitable he would end up working with livestock in some shape or form and it was always highly likely he would follow his father’s career path.
This is what led the Wexford man to study a Level 6 Adv Cert in Drystock Management in Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny.
“I did the two-year Drystock Management course in Kildalton.” Padraic explained to Kevin of That’sFarming.
After this, six-months was spent working with a contractor in New Zealand, a life experience in itself. It was then, that Padraic decided to return home and fulfil his childhood destiny.
“I went to New Zealand for six months, but then I went back home and have been here ever since.” Padraic reminisced.
“I went out working with a contractor.”
In terms of his journey into haulage, Padraic admits to always having had a soft spot for ‘All things Haulage’ and this is why, after completing his course in Kildalton, he went on to complete his lorry licence.
“I went for my lorry licence when I was done in Kildalton.” Padraic noted.
“I always liked the haulage end of things as well and we started doing more haulage when I came home…We are growing since and we hope to continue growing for another while.” He added.
In terms of services offered by the team of three at Knockbay Livestock (Padraic, his father and a farm manager) they mainly operate as livestock agents for farmers, buying consignments of top-quality lots at local marts upon request.
Any stock not up to the farmer’s desired taste, are simply kept and finished by the family themselves. They are also agents for ABP and offer livestock haulage services to farmers.
“We draw to factories and marts and that. We are actually agents for ABP in Waterford.” ‘Podge’ explained.
“There is three of us here, we have a man full-time doing the feeding and that.”
The Murphy’s don’t stick to just marts in their locality when sourcing livestock for their clients and usually take in a trip to at least one mart every day.
“We go to nearly a mart a day between the two of us.” Padraic said.
“It’s all dry stock.”
Padraig and his father carry out their services in the family’s Scania R450 lorry, bought brand-new in 2016 and a truck Padraic is fiercely proud of.
“We bought her brand-new.” Said the Wexford man.
Model: R450 Streamline
Future of Knockbay Livestock -
The future of Knockbay Livestock agents certainly looks bright and with things getting bigger and better every year, the team of three have no immediate plans for change.
They will instead focus on what they do best, buying cattle as agents, finishing cattle and offering haulage services to farmers and factories alike. The main aim, as always, is to continue their impressive growth to date.
“We will keep finishing and doing what we are doing.” said Padraic.
“We will try and expand in terms in every way if we can.” He added.
Although the haulage side of the family’s business is not the biggest, they have no intentions of abandoning this venture in the coming years. In fact, if the work came along Padraic admits that they would likely have to take on someone in a role behind the wheel, as sad as he would be to negate his place behind the wheel.
“The haulage side is not that lucrative because there are so many at it…but we need the lorry for our own business as well.” Podge noted.
“If I could get the work, I would employ someone to drive the lorry full-time. Inevitably in time when my father steps down that is probably what will happen.”
“I’m not looking forward to it, but it will have to be done at some stage. I like being in the lorry myself, if I could be in it every day, I would be happy.” He laughed.
Truck-wise, the family are more than happy with the purchase made in 2016, though they will look into an upgrade at some stage in the coming years. In the short term, the red and white R450 will remain.
“Probably after four or five years, we will change her again.” Padraic said.
Why Haulage/Livestock -
There are a lot of things which first attracted Padraig to a life working in both the haulage and agricultural industry, the first of which is the pride in following the path set by his grandfather and father before him.
Always keen on livestock, Padraic says he also enjoys the freedom of being his own boss and the satisfaction gained in a happy customer or a job well done. Haulage-wise, Padraic just enjoys being out on the road, covering ground.
“You are your own boss and get to interact with people.” said Padraic.
“There is great satisfaction in the job when you supply someone with cattle and their happy and they earn money from them.” Padraic added.
For Padraic, there is simply no other job for him or as he said himself “All the money in the world wouldn’t put me in an office”.
Do you work behind the wheel on a regular basis? Fancy sharing your story to our followers? If so, drop Kevin an email on Kforde@thatsfarming.com with a short bio and we will be in touch!