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Friday 2 December 2016

'I will leave it at 100 cows - I am a one-man operation after all'

My week: Maurice Walsh, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, dairy farmer

Ken Whelan

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

Maurice Walsh
Maurice Walsh

Maurice Walsh is poised to become a TV star.

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The 45-year-old "man in charge" at the family's 58 hectare holding (his retired dad, Edward, a well-known antiques dealer, prefers measure the land mass at 128 acres) is about to embark on a new RTE TV show in which he brings his experience to other rural and urban small businesses.

Farmer in Charge will see Maurice giving advice to a hairdressing salon in Oldbawn in Tallaght Co Dublin on how to organise cash flow.

The show is set to replace the At Your Service series which the Brennan brothers from Kenmare have been doing for the past seven years and is due to screen on RTE in the middle of April.

It's a notable departure from the usual routine for Maurice who supplies 500,000 litres of milk from his 100 head of British Friesians to the Dairygold plant in Mitchelstown.

Maurice, is married to Lorraine, an accountant from Clonmel.

They have three children: Aaron (22) who has graduated from Cork DIT with an automechanics qualification and is being earmarked for the dairy farm.

Aaron is aiming to do an Ag Science degree at UCD in this own time.

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Darragh (18) is about to sit his Leaving Cert while Cian (6) has it all in front of him.

Maurice has been a dairy farmer since he graduated from agricultural college in Pallaskenry with his Green Cert in 1998.

He initially took over a 50-cow herd from his father which he has now expanded to 100 cows which he says is the optimum herd size for the farm.

"I think I'll leave it at 100. I am a one-man operation after all.

"Most of my milk goes to producing Danone," he says.

So how did the TV break come about?

"Well I was at the Ploughing in Rathiniska last year and was helping to display a Dairymaster milking machine at the show and I was asked to audition for the show and now I am doing it."

There is an inclination towards to showbiz about Maurice who does back stage and on stage work with his local Palace Players company in Mitchelstown.

"I normally do the props and the backstage work but I played the part of Johnnypateenmike in a recent production of Martin McDonagh's play The Cripple of Inishmaan by the Palace Players.

"He's the fella who carries all the news around the island - the pigeon if you like.

"I also sing a bit, Joe Dolan songs mainly. And my father Edward does it as well. I help with the tea dances in the Mitchelstown areas.

"That's Sunday afternoon dancing from 3 to 6pm with no alcohol permitted. It's all in aid of the local Lourdes fund. I suppose show business is in my blood," he adds

And while that may be so, Maurice insists that his farm remains the top priority.

"It takes up 90pc of my time. I'm off to the parlour now," he told me when I spoke to him at 4pm. "If you want to know anything else give us a call at seven," he added.

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