For any farmer with 20 cows, bringing 20 calves to the mart each year, the most he can make in a year is around €20,000. Taking feed and all the other expenses off, it’s impossible for anyone to make a living off of that.”
This sentiment expressed by Tommy Holmes is shared on many smaller scale suckler farms throughout the country. Allowing for the fact that many small-scale dry stock farms are now only run on a part-time basis, and off-farm earnings make up the majority of family incomes, it is still a massive challenge for these enterprises to generate enough income to make it a worthwhile exercise and prevent it from existing as little more than a hobby.