NEW Irish Dairy Farmer Magazine out now
The new Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is out now. Get your copy from all good newsagents in Ireland, or order it online

Irish Dairy Farmer magazine: The Labour Issue - ORDER IT ONLINE HERE

Labour is a huge issue facing Irish farming. The dairy industry is growing by around 8% per year - the shackles of the milk quota era are well and truly off. However, new constraints are emerging. Farmers are finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit people to work on and manage dairy farms.

Structures are in place to educate and train more young people in the skills of farming, but is farming an attractive career choice for young people?

This issue of the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine tackles the labour issue head on. We deal with it from the farmers’ side – profiling over 40 ways dairy farmers can reduce their labour requirements, while detailing 12 ways in which dairy farmers can improve their people management skills and make farms more attractive places for people to work.

In our ever popular farmer focus section, we profile farmers who are excellent at managing people and who at the same time, are running thriving dairy farm businesses. Labour is an issue facing farmers of all sizes – we profile farmers milking from 80 up to 4,500 cows.

Here’s a preview of what’s inside the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine:

Old Head on Young Shoulders: When David O’Sullivan told his parents not to sell the in-calf heifers as he was going to return from New Zealand after nine months, the whole dynamic of the O’Sullivan family’s farming business was to change.

American Cream: Aidan Brennan visits Rodney and Dorothy Elliott at their farm in the US - Drumgoon Dairies, to speak about their transition from dairy farming in Co. Fermanagh to buying a farm and establishing a super dairy in South Dakota.

Max Power: We meet the team behind a 900-cow farm at Moore Hill Farms, Tallow, Co Waterford.

Team Players: We see how two neighbours have joined forces and are now farming in partnership in Co Galway.

The Fabric of Change: This Coleraine farm, once a linen-production site, is a bit different to most farms in Northern Ireland. With a focus on block calving, the herd compromises a combination of British Friesian and New Zealand Friesian genetics.

Brave Hearts: We speak to the Young family who relocated from the Cowal Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands to Little Buds Farm in Co Westmeath.


The Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is available in 3,000 newsagents across Ireland or you can ORDER IT ONLINE HERE.

You can also purhcase the DIGITAL VERSION HERE

EU visit confirms lack of Brexit progress
The arrival of the Commission President and chief negotator in Dublin this week confirms the grave state of Brexit negotiations

The European Commission brought its Brexit A team to Dublin this week to meet the Taoiseach and President Juncker addressed both houses of the Oireachtas. When a high-level visit like this takes place, it poses the question of why it is necessary a week ahead of the Council of Ministers.

The answer, bluntly, is because the target of sorting out the Irish border in the Brexit negotiations by this Council is not going to be achieved. It now gets pushed back until October and beyond that there really is no road left to kick the can down!


The rhetoric on Brexit is also growing louder in both Brussels and London. During a visit to Brussels last week, discussions with Brussels officials revealed an attitude of disbelief towards the UK.

Meanwhile, in London, the debate goes on between the Brexit and pro-EU wings of the Conservative party about what they might suggest to Brussels as a compromise on the big issue of the Irish border, even though ideas floated so far have been dismissed by Brussels.

If the worst happens for Irish agriculture, the contagion will spread to mainland Europe

With stalemate developing, talk of a no-deal Brexit is growing on both sides of the English Channel. To date, the view is that this situation would be so mutually destructive that a deal would be found. It is still possible that that will be the case late in the day and where this would leave the Irish position is a major concern if a hothouse negotiation was taking place in October.

Major companies like Airbus and BMW have put down a marker that they are running out of patience and President Juncker was quite open in saying that the EU must prepare for the worst.


In a no-deal Brexit, the biggest hit will be carried by Irish farmers. Industry will get hurt with tariffs but agriculture with tariffs of up to 100% on beef and 80% on cheese will simply be wiped out. Whenever the crisis arose in banking a decade ago, the buzz word of the time was contagion – the knock-on effect of one bank failing having on other banks.

If the worst happens for Irish agriculture, the contagion will spread to mainland Europe as it is where Irish produce will finish up if the UK market is closed. Therefore a crisis in Irish agriculture in the event of a no-deal Brexit will almost immediately be a crisis in EU agriculture, particularly in the countries that Ireland currently does substantial business with.

Budget flexibility

President Juncker spoke this week about the substantial EU budget being sufficiently flexible that the EU could address this problem, and Irish farmers will be hoping that he is in a position to follow through.

What needs to happen now is that farmers are given a clear indication of what the contingency plans are by way of income support and what mechanisms will be used to offset the impact that a closing of the UK market would bring.

Fourth tranche of Burren Programme opens
This scheme focuses specifically on the conservation of the unique farming landscape in counties Clare and Galway.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has announced the opening of a final tranche of the Burren Programme for applications from interested farmers.

The Burren Programme is one of a suite of locally led schemes being rolled out by the Department of as part of its Rural Development Programme (RDP). The programme is targeted at farmers with species-rich grazed habitats in the Burren.

This scheme focuses specifically on the conservation of the unique farming landscape in counties Clare and Galway.

The investment by the Department for this scheme will be up to €15m over the lifetime of the present RDP.

The application form is available on the Department’s website here.

The closing date for applications is 6 July 2018.

Common objectives

“My Department, through our Rural Development Programmes, has funded farming in the Burren region for many years and the current Burren scheme is central to meeting our common objectives of conserving the unique heritage, environment and communities of this unique area.

“I had an opportunity last year to take part in one of the farm walks organised as part of the Winterage Weekend and can see that the Burren project is an excellent example of an innovative locally led project under our Rural Development Programme,” Minister Creed said.

The minister added: “I would like to congratulate the Burren team and the participating farmers on a scheme which ensures that agricultural activity is undertaken with regard to the local heritage and environmental priorities and which has fostered a palpable sense of community pride.

“We look forward to working with them on developing this project into the future.”

Read more

Watch and listen: Creed joins hundreds on Burren winterage walk

New €10m agri-environmental scheme for the west