'Something has to be done before more farmers leave the sector'
My week: Tim Fitzgerald
Tim Fitzgerald is a bit of a perfectionist which is useful if you are a farmer whose herd has been in the top 10 of the national EBI Index for the past number of years.
He runs a dairy and pure bred bull enterprise on his 135 acres at Ballyroan, near Abbeyleix in Co Laois, and supplies Glanbia with milk with 550 kgs of solids.
He prefers to classify his milk in solids rather than volume. "There's not much point in classifying the water content of the milk," he says.
But there is a real point in breeding efficient cows with good fertility if you want to run an economic dairy enterprise.
The 48-year-old also runs a pure bred bull enterprise on the farm which he says is both "time and land consuming" but it generates about 20pc of the farm's income.
"I hold on to 12 to 15 of the newborn bulls every year and sell them on at around 14 months old; the buyers come from Armagh to the Allihies and, of course, the AI companies," he says.
The bull breeding started as a hobby 10 years ago, but has since developed into a serious interest, he explains.
His best bull so far has been 'Ballymac Timothy' - called after himself and the townland where he lives. "I didn't name him - the people at the registration office did that", he modestly points out.