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Why this family switched from dairy to Dexters – and how they made it work

Looking for a better lifestyle, the O’Riordans sold their 70 dairy cows and bought a small herd of Dexters. They have since created a thriving business on their 170ac Cork farm, thanks to smart marketing and direct selling of the premium product.

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Conor O'Riordan who looks after the family farm with his father Jerry. Pictures by Denis Boyle.

Conor O'Riordan who looks after the family farm with his father Jerry. Pictures by Denis Boyle.

The O'Riordans' herd of Dexters grazing on the farm in Millstreet, Cork. Pictures by Denis Boyle.

The O'Riordans' herd of Dexters grazing on the farm in Millstreet, Cork. Pictures by Denis Boyle.

The Dexters graze on the commonage, which has Coomeetatrush waterfall at the centre.

The Dexters graze on the commonage, which has Coomeetatrush waterfall at the centre.

Brave Herders' steaks. Dexter meat is full of omega3, omega 6 and omega 9, according to Diarmuid.

Brave Herders' steaks. Dexter meat is full of omega3, omega 6 and omega 9, according to Diarmuid.

Conor with local contractor Brendan Healy taking advantage of the good weather bringing in the silage.

Conor with local contractor Brendan Healy taking advantage of the good weather bringing in the silage.

Conor says Dexter beef is known for its distinct marbling, making it a premium product.

Conor says Dexter beef is known for its distinct marbling, making it a premium product.

Conor at the O'Riordan family farmhouse which is surrounded by the farm.

Conor at the O'Riordan family farmhouse which is surrounded by the farm.

Diarmuid looks after the sales and marketing of Brave Herders.

Diarmuid looks after the sales and marketing of Brave Herders.

Conor in the milking parlour which is now unused but still fit for purpose.

Conor in the milking parlour which is now unused but still fit for purpose.

Jerry O'Riordan with his herd of Dexters. He has built up his herd to 30, and is finishing a total of 60 per year.

Jerry O'Riordan with his herd of Dexters. He has built up his herd to 30, and is finishing a total of 60 per year.

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Conor O'Riordan who looks after the family farm with his father Jerry. Pictures by Denis Boyle.

The O’Riordans went with their hearts when they sold their herd of 70 dairy cows in 2017 and bought a small herd of Dexters.

The family didn’t know where the venture would take them, but fast forward five years and they’re now supplying some of Ireland’s best hotels and restaurants with their ‘world-class’ beef from their Brave Herders farm in Millstreet, Co Cork.


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