Go with the flow - Cork man shows that you don't need land or milking tradition to gain a foothold in dairying
The idea that you need a substantial farm of land and milking heritage to enter the expanding dairy industry no longer holds true.
There are now plenty of men and women, some without an acre to their name, who are working their way up the ladder in farm management roles as share milkers through leasing land and in partnerships.
The first time that Diarmuid Scannell milked a cow was over 17,000km from his Coolea, Co Cork home. In 2010, Diarmuid, then 25, took up a job on a 400-cow farm, 200km north of Melbourne.
Hailing from a 29-hectare sheep and suckler farm on the Cork/Kerry border, Diarmuid says that since his home farm has "far from Golden Vale land conditions", he had never considered dairy farming as an option.
"Dairy farming wasn't on the radar in Coolea. I worked as a welder until 2007. I milked my first cow in Australia in 2010. I spent three months milking on a farm, just milking cows at 45°C in the middle of the day. It wasn't particularly enjoyable but it was a job," he says.
It wasn't until later in 2010 when he moved to New Zealand with his then girlfriend and now wife, Briege Corkery, who is well-known for her exploits on the GAA fields, that he viewed dairy farming as a potential career path.
"I moved on to New Zealand and got a job on a 425ha farm. I really enjoyed the experience there. I learned how to work, God knows, but I learned great lessons. It wasn't complicated. It was a real eye-opener," he recalls as he addressed the recent Positive Farmers dairy conference in Cork.
In 2013, Diarmuid returned home and began working for dairy farmer Michael Bateman. He has since entered in to a share milking arrangement with Michael.