Farming in the remote area that is the Gaeltacht region of Ballyferriter in Co. Kerry can be a difficult task, especially for a Suckler enterprise.
He and his father help run a 30 strong Autumn calving herd in the area, with his father running it and Kieran helping out whenever he can. The herd of continental crossbreds are farmed on approximately 60 acres in his native Kingdom county.
This is not Kieran’s only foray into agriculture, having spent three seasons in South Island, New Zealand. He worked during the harvest for local contractors, while he also milked cows and worked for a potato farmer.
“While I was there, I was as well to try everything, “, he joked.
He is currently studying a green cert in Teagasc, Killarney, part-time, which he will have complete in two weeks’ time. He hopes this will enable to set up a herd of his own in two to three years’ time when his father takes a step back.
How it all began:
Having worked for local contractors since the age of 16, Kieran first took the step to set up his own enterprise back in 2013. He was still working for a local contractor at the time but had purchased his first tractor, leading to offers of work for himself.
“I was always mad about tractors and machinery from a young age and when I was 16 I went driving for a local contractor. Then I bought a tractor in 2013…and I did the drawing and stacking up of the bales for him and up until last year,”, he said.
“It was kind of now or never then, especially when I bought a baler in 2016…In 2017, I said go on my own or stay along with him. I said I would go out alone,”, Kieran said.
Kieran Galvin Agri Contracting offer every service, from baled silage to mowing, wrapping, slurry spreading and agitating, tractor hire, hauling, fencing services to even cattle weighing. They mainly make bales on the regular, putting the new Fusion 3 baler to the test.
“We do everything,”, said the contractor.
He is currently the main man on the road all-year round, while during the summer he hires in part-timers, to help fill the seats of the other two tractors.
“I have no fulltime staff, bar myself…But come May, I will have two-part time staff and friends and those who help out whenever they can and the pressure is on.”, said Kieran.
Tractors – John Deere 7530 2010, John Deere 6830-2008 - with Front loader, John Deere 6630 – 2007 – with front loader.
Grass- Fusion 3 baler 2018. Kuhn 250g – 2008 – mower with grouper, Three Scully bale trailers.
Slurry- Hi spec 2000gallon, 30.5 wide tires. Cross agitator.
Once he completes the green cert and his father hands over the reins of the farm to him, he hopes to improve the farm's efficiency as much as possible. He aims to someday increase numbers, while also increasing weight gain and making more money.
“I won’t massively expand, but improve things inside the farm gate,”, he said.
He says at the moment, he is unsure whether he will continue with suckler farming or change to another enterprise. This is all, he readily admits, dependent on how busy the contracting business is.
“I don’t know (will he change systems). I may go to finishing cattle, but I am open to options,” he stated.
“There is uncertainty over suckler farming at the moment, so I will wait a year or two and see what happens,”, he admits.
He also hopes the contracting side of things keeps progressing as it has been.
"I take massive pride in every job I do and make sure everything is done to the highest standards. I am looking forward to the season ahead, to keep the business progressing and going in the right direction. A happy customer equals a happy Kieran", said Kieran.
Why he loves contracting:
Like mastitis in cattle, Kieran says contracting is like a disease or an addiction. He has always loved machinery since a young age and this career path helps feed his addiction.
“From when I was young I was stone mad for tractors, having a pedal tractor at a young age with my name on it,”, he explained.
“It’s just something I always wanted to do, have my own fleet, be my own boss and when silage comes in, I just love that burst of work…Its kind of a disease, you either have it or you don’t,“, he joked.
Well and truly living his childhood dream, he may only be going for two years on his own, but not even the bad weather will deter or affect the adrenalin rush Kieran feels, when he is behind the wheel.
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