I farm: “Free range hens, beef and sheep on 400ac with my father Eddie, mother Dorothy and sister Sophie. We started producing free range eggs in 2018 and run 12,000 birds at present.”

Poultry: “We average 11,000 eggs daily and supply to Belview Eggs, Drogheda. The hens have access to 34ac of grass, go in and out as they please and we operate at 1,000 birds to the hectare. Our system has become well automated and you’d be watching the computer to monitor feed and water intake. We gather eggs morning and evening and they’re collected from the farm every week day.”

Costs: “There’s been rapid production cost inflation in producing the free range eggs and poultry is a high-risk game. Energy, feed and labour costs have all risen but the biggest one is that pullet costs have increased from €4.40 each since 2018 to €5.70 for this year due to higher feed prices. Across 12,000 birds, it’s a major cost increase. The price of eggs has increased slightly but it is all indexed to rising feed prices. I’ve planning got to build a second poultry unit but had to stall it due to the rising costs of construction.”

Livestock: “We were traditionally sucklers but now run an 80 head dairy beef system. We buy in Angus and Belgian Blue cross weaned heifer calves in the spring and rear them on to finish at 22 months. We also have 90 ewes lambing over Christmas and a further 120 from 17 March. They’re the Borris ewe and we buy all our replacements at the sales every year. We cross them back then to Texel and Beltex rams. We keep 200 stores to finish at the back end of the year as well.”

Future: “I was FBD Young Farmer of the Year in 2018 and have moved into the poultry since then. I do think there’s a future in it but with the way things have gone, it’s not the same as it once was.”