Thomas Keenan

Galway - sucklers

“It’s a family day out, it’s a yearly event for us. We’re here to see all the new machinery and look at all the livestock.

“[The outlook] is a bit negative now because they’re talking about culling the suckler cow numbers, the few suckler cows in Ireland at the moment. Culling isn’t going to make much of a difference in the greenhouse gases. I’m not happy with that.

Thomas and Geraldine Keenan with their son Paddy at the Ploughing.

“The price of fuel should be a big thing for farmers in the budget, the running costs of machinery. Energy and electricity, we need other big savings there.

“I don’t like that they think agriculture is one of the main reasons [for emissions]. We’re a farming country. We’re green and we’re not known as green for nothing.”

Seán Healy

Cork – dairy

Seán and Denise Healy.

“We’re positive I suppose for this year. The way things are now you just take each year as it comes. Prices went up for this year for inputs but the plus side is the milk price is good as well so I’d be hopeful it will carry on for next year.

“You’d like to see [in the budget] some sort of concessions for the ESB costs. That’s going to be the big cost and fuel as well, diesel and agricultural diesel. That’s having a huge impact on the costings.

“They’re going to have to look at putting in solar panels; not for us to have to depend on ESB the whole time.”

Anthony Murney

Down – dairy

(L-R) Cousins Anthony, Brendan and Malachi Murney.

“[The Ploughing] is a bit of a break, a holiday, drinks at night and all. We’re staying down for the few days.

“The future is looking alright but the expenses are killing us. It’s basically getting more expensive for everything. From the electricity right down to the fertiliser, the whole works, it’s killing us but we’re surviving now. The milk boys are given a rise in price every so often which is helping to cover the costs but the outlook wouldn’t be very bright.”

Paul Jameson

Down – beef

Paul Jameson.

“It’s nice to be back but I think it’s a smaller show than normal. Even in terms of machinery, a lot of the big dealers aren’t here.

“For us, the direction of beef prices will frame the months ahead because we are finishing bulls. Where we are sitting with feed at the minute, we need beef prices [to remain] strong.

“We were short on grass all year and we had to feed some silage to a group of cows at one stage. The third cut still isn’t in either but at the same time, I would rather have had it dry than wet and have had to take cows inside in September.”

Philip Healy

Kerry - dairy, beef and tillage

Philip Healy.

“Costs are very high but sure, we are doing OK. Milk prices aren’t bad at the minute and on the weather side of things, I should have enough feed to get me through anyways.

“In the budget, I suppose I would just be hoping that there won’t be any major changes to tax. With costs the way they are, you would really need to be keeping what you make.”

Michael Holland

Clare - dairy and beef

Michael Holland.

“It’s lovely to be back at the Ploughing, it’s three years since we were here. I’m farming dairy and beef in east Clare and we’re milking 72 cows. The outlook is pretty positive at the moment as regards prices, most commodity prices are going pretty well and the weather has been fantastic. On the back of the higher milk prices this year, I was hoping to upgrade a few things on the milking machine. Other years you’d be humming and hawing about doing it.

“I’m OK for silage. I got a right good first cut and I have another 30ac down as we speak.”

James and Therese Brennan

Co Limerick - sucklers

James and Therese Brennan.

“I love the Ploughing – it’s a great day out. I’m just sorry I didn’t book in for two days.

“I’m farming suckler-beef at home. I breed all commercial red Angus and have around 40 cows. I think they’re lovely cattle.

“I’d say I should have plenty of silage. I made 400 bales this year, I’ll still try to keep them out on grass for as long as I can though.

“Beef prices are good at the moment but inputs have gone up at a crazy rate. I had to make better use of my slurry this year by watering it down. It worked a treat to be honest.”