John Morrin, Athy, Co Kildare

Kildare tillage farmer John Morrin with son Tom.


“It’s been challenging trying to get the harvest cut and the straw. The straw is way back, it’s tough. We’re facing a wet autumn now trying to sow winter barley and winter wheat. It’s going to be tough.

“We’re selling straw now, there’s no problem selling it. It’s just the sheds aren’t full. Fertiliser has been a crazy price and the grain has been back. Financially, it’s not good.

"Trying to sow corn, it’s a little bit demoralising, but we have to just get back into it. We’ll hopefully get some kind of support.

“You’d hope [there’s a future in tillage farming]. You have to stay positive. If you don’t stay positive sure they won’t be.

2There’ll have to be grain produced in Ireland, but if you’re trying to deal with a world market, I suppose it complicates things but we’ll stay ploughing on.

“[Government performance] for tillage is not even a performance. It’s like we don’t exist because we’re small. We’re a minority and it seems to be all dairy and beef; tillage doesn’t even get a look in. That’s always been the way, but it’ll have to change.

“We’re not even in [Government policy]. We’re not even left behind, not even in it.”

Edward O’Keefe, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

Kilkenny farmer Edward O’Keefe with Chloe Farrell.


“We buy in and feed on weanlings through the year. Either keep them for the winter and sell them on then the following spring.

"We had ourselves set up that there was more grass than the animals we had. The grass kind of got away so we ended up selling extra silage then instead.

“We’ll hold on to it for a while and see then coming into the winter and sell on then if lads are looking for stuff, but we’ll make sure that we have enough for ourselves.

“There is a future for young farmers in beef, but it’s getting harder every day. It’s getting harder every year between all the rules and regulations that are coming in and that are here already. It’s starting to make it harder. There is a future there, but you just have to find the right gap in the market.

“Government is making it harder. They’re not taking us into consideration. It’s always been blamed on the farmers - it’s the farmers causing global warming. Yeah, they might be contributing to it, but there’s plenty of other stuff that’s contributing to it as well.”

Peter Rice, Mountrath, Co Laois

Laois farmer Peter Rice with daughter Cara and sons Jack and Jamie.

Sucklers and sheep

“Weather is the biggest problem. I would say price and stuff is ok throughout the year. Costs are high, price is ok going out, but the weather is the problem, trying to farm against the weather, especially on tough ground.

“Obviously, July was a big a fall-off just with lamb thrive, poor kill-out and that kind of stuff. Even with meal feeding and good grass, it’s still tough. The cost of keeping everything up and out properly to what factories want is hard.

“You’d be trying to hold numbers. Everything is driven towards cutting back. You’re trying to watch costs one side and you’re still trying to maintain a number. That’s tricky as well. No, I wouldn’t be driven to cut back too much.

"I can’t consider any other enterprise where I am. The ground is pretty marginal, so it’s not suitable to switching to dairy like everyone’s at. So, it’s about just putting up and managing what we have.

“I think it’s going to be tougher in the next 10 to 15 years because I think on marginal ground, and our two enterprises, it’s reneging. They are going to be, unfortunately, and we don't know what position they’re going to be in 10 years.

"Your neighbour looks like he’s going to be a good dairy farmer and we could end up growing bushes beside him. That just looks like the way it’s heading at the moment and you can’t compete.”

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Views from the Ploughing: ‘I just came to see what is new’