Seán Doran, Adamstown, Wexford

Wexford farmers Seán and Annette Doran with sons Padraig and Cillian and neighbour Rory Kelly.

Beef and sheep

“Farming is getting harder. Meal is getting dearer. All the inputs are dear. For myself, it’s getting less and less wanting to keep the thing.

"The young lads at home, they’re wanting to get into farming. You’d like to keep some sort of an enterprise for them because they’re into the cattle and sheep. We just have to keep going the best we can with it.

“For the small fella, no, there isn’t [a future in beef and sheep]. You need to be in the big numbers to make any kind of profit. That’s why we’ve a full-time job.

“It’s getting wet out on land. We’re not too bad now, we’re on high ground, so it’s not too bad for us yet. You can see the quality of grass, grass is wetter.

"The cattle are more runnier on it then as well. You’d be conscious of that. It’s going through them and you’d throw them out a bit of straw just to have a pick at their head to keep them right.”

Michael Lynch, Skibbereen, Cork

Cork farmer Michael Lynch.


“The weather is mixed. We had a tough spring, a dry summer and a wet autumn. We avoided probably a lot of the heavy rain in recent weeks. It’s definitely a tougher year than last year.

“We’re very much impacted [by the nitrates cut]. I’m in partnership with my son. He has a part-time job.

"We spent a lot of money in 2022 and now look, because of the banding, we’d have lost 20 cows if we didn’t take ground. That cost us a lot of money. Now, again, if it comes down to 220kg, we’ll lose another 15 cows.

“I think farming is a long-term project. You have to plan for five years ahead. To think, two weeks ago we were told we’re down to 220kg and you couldn’t plan or budget or run a business that way.

“[Government], in just over 12 months, they seem to have forgotten the farmers. They felt like last year was such a good year, forget about them and it seems to be the bad word now – farming.”

Eamon O’Toole, Tipperary

Eamon O'Toole at Ploughing 2023.

Dairy and sucklers

“The milk was very good, but when we were getting 70c/l, we knew that that wouldn’t last, there would be a drop. You need to take the whole, round calendar.

“There is swings and roundabouts in everything and I am in the farming long enough that I saw lots of them downturns. This is a blip.

"You have to stay with it, seven days a week. It’s hard work, but if you enjoy it, it’s not work. And it will strengthen back up again.

“Young farmers that are new into it, they didn’t see this as much as lads like myself, but you need to be steady and stay with it.”

Eoin Kelleher, Cork

Eoin Kelleher at Ploughing 2023.


“It’s a combination of all the issues affecting farmers. The price of land is sky high. It doesn’t make any sense.

“I would imagine there might be another small bit of a fall [in milk prices], but it can’t fall much more. If it goes any further, it is going to cost people their livelihoods and the whole thing is going to crash.

"The inputs are stone mad too though. The prices have come down, but the inputs aren’t coming down at all.

“We saw last year was a fierce high, but where there is highs, there is lows. You just have to stick with it. I would image there is brighter days ahead, but it might not come for a long time because we are just after getting the good times.”