'We should be upping production of cheeses and butter'
It was "a rainless Christmas" for Denis Drennan who took advantage of "the quiet times" on his Co Kilkenny farm and flew out to Paris for a short break.
"The cows were safely in and the farm was tidied up so I took a short break. Not a drop of rain during the break in Paris and I come back to Hurricane Frank and flooding all over the pace. I was fortunate not to be affected but there has been some terrible flooding in Co Kilkenny," says Denis.
The 40-year-old, who is also the chairman of the Kilkenny Leader company and an active ICMSA member, took over the 100-acre family farm when his father, Michael, fell ill 20 years ago.
"My father had a stroke when he was 64 years of age and as the only son it fell to me to keep the farm going. Dad is in a nursing home now and I live on the farm with my mother, Maura," he explains.
His two sisters work off- farm - Joan as a nurse and Marie as an accountant.
The farm, which is located just three miles south of Kilkenny city, runs a herd of 70 British Friesians and despite all the hype about the dairy sector being the future of Irish agriculture Denis takes this prediction with copious amounts of salt.
"I'm getting around 24c/l plus 1c from the co-op for milk that is produced for over 25c/l. That's a loss and I don't see things improving in the short term. And I don't believe all these predictions about exporting our dairy ingredients and powders to places like China.
"My view on dairying is simple - when the price is low you cull and when the price rises you drive on," Denis says with a conviction which is not for turning.