Taking the long view on the milk market
Meath farmer David Hannon is typical of those pressing ahead with expansion plans
Dairy expansion is accelerating in parts of the country despite the dire outlook for prices over the coming six months.
The large crowd attending the Teagasc-Lakeland Dairies farm walk on David Hannon's farm near Grange in Co Meath heard how he plans to double cow numbers over the coming two years due the increased availability of land blocks in the area.
The €500,000 investment for Mr Hannon comes on the back of a 50pc increase in cow numbers in his spring calving herd over the last seven years.
"A few years ago, if you asked any of my discussion group, we would have all said that we were maxed-out.
"At that stage we were probably at an average of 200 cows per farm. But I'd say that number is going to be closer to 300 cows in a few years time," said Mr Hannon.
When asked what had changed, the Drumree farmer said that more blocks of land were coming up for sale in the area and that leases were becoming more popular.
"I'm in the process of creating a 15 year partnership with a neighbour for 65ha next year, and that's what is giving me the possibility of increasing cow numbers to maybe 500 over the next couple of years," he said.
He estimates that at least half of his Navan discussion group are in the process of taking on extra land.