Singing the blues over the monthly milk cheque
My week: Michael Murphy, Foulksmills, Co Wexford, dairy farmer
It's a busy time at Michael Murphy's farm down in Foulksmills in Co Wexford with a new batch of British Friesian calves on the way.
"One of them has started calving at the moment and the way things are for her it's not going to be too long now," he says as he ponders his latest cheque.
"Just looking at this December cheque. It's abysmal as 25c/l is nowhere near the costs of production. But that's the way it goes in this business. I hear it is going to be like this for some time. The milk price has gone down before and it is hard working with these close margins," the 51-year-old father-of-three sighs.
Michael has been working his 95ac home farm at Kilscanlon since the late eighties and runs a herd of between 40 to 45 British Friesians. It's small scale in comparison to some, he admits, but he has no plans to expand his operation and says the current stocking level is adequate enough for the land available.
He has had a British Friesian herd for all his farming life as had his parents - Michael and Ellen - before him.
"I like the breed. They are robust and easy to manage. I am not a big fan of the Holsteins", he says.
When he left school Michael did his Green Cert over three years at the Teagasc facility in New Ross. His wife Geraldine is a 'home mum' and their children Mark (18), Eadaon (16) and Gregory (14), are all going to school locally in New Ross so far none of the children seem to be over exercised about a future in farming.
"They seem more interested in x-box if you ask me though Eadaon plays a bit a camogie," Michael remarks.