'The younger generation are making sure they have a job off farm'
My week: Thomas Rogers
Published 12/10/2016 | 02:30
Thomas Rogers has three main interests in life - cows, milk and the weather and all three of them are giving him some serious pause for thought.
The cows are fine on his farm in Bailieboro, Co Cavan and their milk is also fine but the prices need fattening up. As for the weather - that hasn't been fine for most of the year.
Thomas reckons that bad weather adds at least 3c per litre to the production cost of milk when you take into account the cost of putting cows in sheds during the many downpours we have had so far this year, lost grazing time and the additional slurry costs created when a farmer has to house his herd.
"And then you have to deal with the damage to the land," he adds ruefully.
Thomas, who is in his 60s, farms 20ha outside Bailieboro on the Cavan-Meath border and is the sixth generation of the family to do so.
He also leases a further 25ha to cater for his 70 head of Friesians and their followers. The farm supplies its milk to Lakeland Dairies.
"All sorts of farming took place here but I have concentrated on the dairy parlour. My father reared cattle, pigs and turkeys on the land when the farm was smaller. It was the same for all farmers around here at the time. But it's cows and milk for me," he says.
Married to Georgina - who hails from Co Meath - the couple have three children, all of whom have shown enough farming savvy to ensure that the land is handed down to a seventh generation.