Case study: 'I get €40 more per head of lamb as part of the mule group'
David Prendergast is making up to €40 more per head of lamb since joing a 'prolific' producer group in the West,
Speaking on his farm in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, surrounded by the wild, rugged scenery of the Partry Mountains and the shores of Lough Mask, the 31-year-old told the Farming Independent that it's the best business decision he's ever made.
"I joined the Mayo Mule and Greyface Group five years ago. I've been knocking around the scene for the last 20 years with my father and I took the opportunity with both hands and it has been very, very fruitful so far," he said.
The biggest benefit highlighted by David is premium money for his best lambs. The father of one carries a flock of 120 ewes across 18 hectares of low lying grassland and five hectares of striped hill land. He says members push each other to produce better quality and encourage new ideas.
"You'd be making €30-€40 more per head with lamb by going directly into the sales in Ballinrobe with the producer group. We are making far more than you would be going to our ordinary run-of-the-mill mart. I'd say we're 25-30pc higher than what you'd be getting in a normal mart becasue they are bred and looked after to the ninth degree," he said.
He says being in a producer group is the way forward, especially for young farmers. However, financial shortcomings means full-time farming is still off the cards for now.
David is also co-founder of an innovative new company, Iomlán Animal Science, which he runs with another local young farmer, Tom Staunton. The company was set up to reduce antibiotic use by promoting animal nutrition, health and farm service. The company currently provides an impressive testing service which can test everything from silage quality, water quality, parasites to mycotoxin levels.
Being part of a producer groups allows both David and Tom to focus on developing their company.