The farm: “It’s a family farm run alongside my wife, Linda, and our newborn baby Saibh, who we are hoping will have farming in her blood. My dad, Michael, is just retired. However, he is still heavily involved in the daily running of the farm.”

Part-time: “I’m a part-time farmer working as a sales rep on the road five days a week covering all corners of Co Mayo. Meanwhile, I take time out of my busy schedule for suckler farming.”

The system: “Consists of 40 acres, including commonage, located beside Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo. Our farm is predominantly cattle with a small amount of sheep which we use as a clean-up exercise. We have 15 suckler cows which all consist of breeds including Limousin and Charolais. At the back end of the year we buy in-store lambs to clean up the grass after the cows graze and sell them off in three months’ time.”

This week: “We are kept busy planning for the grazing season ahead and preparing for the calving season by cleaning, liming and disinfecting the calving pens. We’re starting calving next week. Being a part-time farmer, I highly rely on the use of a calving detector which has been a lifesaver while I’m working on the road.”

Weather: “Being along the coast of Mayo can have its disadvantages. We’ve had very wet weather with heavy rain leaving the ground very heavy and damp. We tend not to get cattle out until St Patrick’s Day and will be feeding silage up until then.”

Michael Needham is a part-time farmer working as a sales rep on the road five days a week. \ Michael Mc Laughlin

Organic farming: “We have considered organic farming. However, chatting to our farm adviser we felt it wasn’t really feasible. We try our best to produce high-quality cattle to show each year and due to our ground in the west of Ireland, we agreed it wasn’t the right path to go on our system.”

The future: “Suckler farming is looking good overall with prices staying strong in marts and the scrapping of the suckler scheme creating an overall positive image for the sector. Suckler farming is very important for this area.”

Quotable quote: “If we lose farmers, we lose rural Ireland. It keeps the shops going, keeps the pub going and keeps visitors coming to the town.”