'We haven't had three dry days here since July' - Dairy farmer on managing one of Ireland's top EBI herds
From 12 cows and a flock of ewes to one of the highest EBI herds in the country
Enda Barrett took a holiday with his wife Maura and daughter Mairead in New York over Christmas to "do something different".
It also helped to clear his head before the calving season at his pedigree dairy farm in Kilconnell outside Ballinasloe where many of his 98 Holsteins are ready to go over the next six weeks.
"Maura has an aunt and an uncle over there and we were staying in a hotel on 6th Avenue. We had a good time with the relations but all New Yorkers seemed to do is mess around with their mobile phones. Not a word out of them. The next time I go that far it will be to somewhere like New Zealand," says the 52-year-old.
He was equally unimpressed with the weather on his return to Ireland for New Year's Eve. "We have had rain down here in Ballinasloe since July. We haven't had three consecutive dry days down here since the Galway Races but at least it has been nothing like 2012.
"We weren't the worst affected by the storms over the last few days. The farmers up in Sligo and Donegal seemed to have got the worst of it."
Enda runs a premier Holstein herd with one of the highest EBIs in the country at 116. The herd is producing 6,000 litres per cow at 4.2pc fat and 3.6pc protein.
He supplies Arrabawn with over 500,000 litres of first-class milk annually and is happy with the 38c/l with bonuses he is receiving. He doesn't expect a huge variation in the milk price this spring.
He uses AI on the breeding side of the operation at Kilconnell and employs some casual labour during the springtime calving rush.