There will be over 100 new entrants into dairying this year, with in the region of 1,000 new entrants into the sector since quotes were abolished in 2015.

Lakeland has had 350 new entrants since 2015 and said new entrants are spread across all counties in the catchment area.

“We have a good number of potential new entrants coming on stream for 2021 also,” a spokesperson for Lakeland told the Irish Farmers Journal.

In Cork, across the four west Cork co-ops, a Carbery spokesperson said it expects “new entrant numbers in the next three years to slow down or decrease and the number of new suppliers coming on board this year to be low”.

Growth in the west

Aurivo is expecting continued growth in farmers switching to dairy in its catchment, with almost 100 new entrants switching to milk in the west since 2015. It has 32 new entrants this year.

“We would expect the current high levels of interest to be maintained for the next two to three years.

“This is primarily driven by the greater profitability of dairy farming.

“Robots and better technology give farmers on smaller milking blocks the ability to continue to work off-farm. Entering into milk is now normalised as all areas have seen successful conversions to dairying,” a spokesperson said.

Glanbia has 20 new entrants coming on board for 2021, and 290 new entrants joined the processor between 2015 and 2020.

Kerry will have 15 new entrants this year, with 58 joining the processor between 2015 and 2020, while Arrabawn has 20 new entrants coming on board this year and 140 new entrants in total since quotas ended.

Herd size

The average herd size of new entrants is 81 cows, with new entrants supplying Arrabawn having the largest herd size at 100 cows.

Dairygold has the smallest average herd size with 60 cows. Farmers supplying Aurivo have an average herd size of 85 cows.

Those supplying Kerry have 70 cows and farmers supplying Carbery have an average herd size of 85. At Lakeland, the average herd size is between 85 and 90 cows.