Meet Diarmuid Foley this week’s young farmer, the Clonmel, Co Tipperary man is full of agricultural knowledge when it comes to dairy farming, farming schemes and giving farming advice.
From an early age Diarmuid has been farming alongside his father and has always wanted to progress into the dairy industry. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from UCD, Diarmuid started working with Teagasc and later decided to branch out on his own to become an Independent Agricultural Adviser.
The young farmer is up-to-date on all farming matters, giving advice to farmers on dairy procedures, BPS’s, GLAS and TAMS schemes and even lecturing in Kildalton Agricultural College. Diarmuid knows that farming can be challenging for young and even experienced farmers and is passionate about sharing his knowledge. “Every farmer needs advice and they are going to come to you at some stage”.
“Not all is doom and gloom,” admits Foley, as he predicts a brighter future in Irish farming. “There is going to be an National Reserve which is going to be great for every young farmer.”
For Mr. Foley this brighter future has already started its course. When Diarmuid is not working as a farming advisor he is busy working on his 170-cow dairy farm alongside his uncle.
“We are milking just short of 170 crossbred cows on a 62 hectare farm. My father takes the heifers on a contract bases and rears them on his farm.”
Over a year ago, Diarmuid registered for a farm partnership with his uncle and after six weeks of paper work and legal agreements, the career driven young farmer was well on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a dairyman.
“I always wanted to get into dairy farming and my uncle gave me the opportunity to do it. My uncle wanted to expand cow numbers but didn’t want to take on a full time labour unit. He has a young family and wanted a better lifestyle for them and by bringing me onboard it meant we are able to rotate milking, rotate the workload and give each other time off.”
With the partnership split into 80% and 20% ownership, the family farm can now benefit from each other and strive to produce excellent quality milk. “Our latest Bulk tank milk results showed butterfat at 5.2 and protein 3.55”, explains Diarmuid.
The family farm has witnessed huge developments in recent months, with stock numbers rising from 125 to 170 cows and with the addition of the new shed with 130 cubicles, an indoor crush and an automatic drafter.
“We knew where we wanted to go, we knew where we wanted to be and the sooner we got there the better for everyone!”
The biggest challenge in the start up was getting the TAMS granting for the shed, it took four months for the approval, which has resulted in a more efficient and streamline workflow that now allows the dairymen to concentrate on their other daily tasks.
“The system is very streamline and not too labour intensive. We invested a substantial amount for a more efficient operation. When I am working off farm and I come back in the evenings to milk the cows, we need it to be a hassle free setup.”
Diarmuid is aware that financial aid is one of the present day problems for young farmers. With this in mind Diarmuid’s future plans are to continue to help and advice farmers with the recent development of his Agricultural Advisory Service by joined forces with O’Sullivan Malone accounts in Carrick on Suir.
As for future farming plans, maintaining the high standards of produce and the streamline workflow will be the main objective for Mr. Foley and expansion will be, in the future, depending on land availability.