Peter Hamm started out with five sucklers and a round-roofed hay shed. Today, he manages over 250 stock and milks 134 cows.
Twenty-five years ago, Peter was a licensed jockey riding out horses earning £50 per week.
With six stables, a small amount of land and daily jobs such as riding, breaking and training horses it was never going to pay the bills.
A combination of farming and construction were chosen as a change of career.
In partnership, Peter went into the construction trade and, by 2009, the business had 10 people employed with a turnover exceeding €1m.
However, as we all know, the construction trade subsequently crashed, leaving Peter and the construction company with no option but to close its doors.
Behind every cloud is a silver lining and for this Westmeath family, dairy farming was the winner. This relatively new business has come a long way in a relatively short time.
Hard work, perseverance and making good investments on the farm have allowed this new enterprise get off on a strong footing.
Supplying Aurivo Co-op during the quota-restricted years allowed Peter to grow the dairy business, even though quotas were limiting as he was able to purchase quota and gradually grow the business.
In 2014 Peter was milking 27 cows and had doubled to 55 cows by 2016. A big break came when he was able to secure a 10-year lease on land adjoining his home block.
This allowed the farm grow to where it is today, milking 134 cows. In total, 69ha are farmed; the cows can walk to 46ha of the farm, and about 65% of this grazing area is long-term leased.
Peter is married to Caroline who works off farm as a psychotherapist and they have two children, Kate and Jack.
Family and farm development haven’t stopped Peter attending his local discussion group and he puts a lot of his success down to attending the discussion group and learning from other farmers.
There is a strong focus on breeding and EBI and Peter uses all the data to produce top-quality milk. As the herd matures and improves in quality, milk solids production is gradually rising.
The parlour on this farm is very nice and makes milking very user-friendly – there is a lot of natural light and a clutter-free pit, making milking very comfortable.