'We effectively became a co-op in the truest meaning of the word'
My week: Bill George
When you are putting more money into a field than you are getting out of it the time has come to get organised. That's the verdict from Bill George, who works in a farm partnership with his father-in-law, Jimmy Mulhall on the Carlow/Laois border
Sixteen years ago the sums at the family's 250ac beef and tillage showed that the cost of fertilising the fields had become the difference between making a profit or loss on their enterprise.
The figures suggested that a change of direction was required pronto.
"The father in-law, Jimmy, made the decision to change the enterprise from beef/tillage and go organic just around the time that organic farming was becoming an option," says Bill. "I joined him in partnership a few years later. I do the dairy side and Jimmy does the organic meat side.
"It took an awful lot of research and study to complete the transfer to organic but we have got a good return.
"We had to become experts in soil, reseeding, clovers and proteins and get the silage done properly," he recalls.
"It wasn't easy but we are making a good living today," he adds.
Bill is currently getting 36c/l for his summer milk and 60c/l for his winter milk and produces 450,000 from the herd of 110 British Friesian crosses. The milk is routed through the nearby Village dairy to a network of cheese-makers associated with the Little Milk Company which is based in Dungarvan.