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Basic Farming Questions

  • 16-10-2022 12:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 148 ✭✭Aurelian

    I have a couple of simple questions if someone wouldn't mind answering. If this has been done before, please point me in the right direction or delete the post! Thanks.

    I always thought you would have or need roughly 1 acre per cow for dairy? Is that anyway accurate or is it from quota days? Would you need c. 100 cows to be viable at dairy? You wouldn't do it part time really? Also it seems post quotas a lot of guys have really expanded their herds and bought up land?

    Is beef the option for smaller operations, part-time with other jobs? Like how many cattle could you reasonably keep part time? Also do you get any big beef operations in Ireland? I only ever hear about big dairy where I live.

    Thanks a million!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,289 ✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions

    These are not simple questions! If there were simple answers, then life would be very simple. I'd suggest you read the Farmers Journal or Agriland online and you'll start to get a sense of what's possible and what's "the norm". Then talk to farmers at the mart, in the local shop, in the pub, etc. In about 20 years time, you'll have the answers to those questions 😀

    In a nutshell:

    * Rule of thumb used to be 1 cow/acre but depends on the type of ground, and there's nitrates regulations to factor in as well

    * You don't need 100 cows to be viable as long as you don't have big loans (e.g. to set up a new parlour in the first place)

    * Not many dairy farmers are part-time

    * Yes, most expanded post-quota. Some by a lot, some by a little.

    * Beef is an option for smaller farms, and can be managed with an off-farm job. But there are 1000 variations on this

    * If you're well set up, you can keep as many cattle as you like part-time. But why would you?

    * Big beef operations in Ireland tend to be feedlots linked to beef processors.

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 148 ✭✭Aurelian

    Thanks a million!

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ Elisha Acidic Theory

    I was on a micro dairy in Mayo where they were making part of a living off 12 cows, plan to expand to 18, on a "grazing platform" of 17 acres, and keep calves to 18 months on the fragmented parcels as well as making some winter fodder.

    Another walk had 65 cows on 120 acres.

    Lots of things are possible if you control your costs and think outside of the conventional box.