'My big idea? Modular grain stores... but ideas can be fragile things'
My week: Tom Bergin
Finding a grain store which is bird-proof, weather-proof and Department of Agriculture-proof is the current preoccupation of Tom Bergin, a grain processor and dairy farmer from Castlemarket, Attanagh on the Laois-Kilkenny border, just outside Durrow.
"I have been talking to various companies about providing a modular grain store - about 30ft square - which can be assembled on farm and can store up to 100 tonnes of dry rolled grain," Tom says. "Sometimes the grain-storage facilities on a farm are not what they could be and I think this modular storage idea could be a solution.
"I have been thinking about it for the past two years but an idea in your head is a fragile thing and when it's in your head it is in a dangerous place. But we have done the research on assembling the store and on prices and we are ready to go," he explains.
Tom has been building up his grain processing operation - 'Mobyroll' - since 2003, when he decided to get to know the business following a fodder shortage in the region at the time.
With the help of the Agri-King company, he got up to speed on crimping and two years later went into dry rolling.
He now has over 100 clients on his books in Laois, Tipperary and Kilkenny during the grain-processing season and he dry rolls in batches ranging from 40 to 300 tonnes and ensures that the moisture/additives ratios are balanced. He is currently dry rolling between 4,500 and 5,000 tonnes of grain annually.
He also does some milling work for Chancellor's Mills, run by the Daltons in Kilkenny, and AbbeyGold in Abbeyleix.
While he initially got started in the business after experiencing a feed shortage on his own farm, it now accounts for about half of his farming enterprise. And if the modular grain storage idea takes off, that percentage will go higher.