Facts and Figures: The true costs involved in setting up a dairy farm
Readers may recall my article of some weeks back on the feasibility of expanding a dairy enterprise.
Curiously that article prompted a number of queries, not so much about expansion, but rather about establishment.
Given that milk price is on the rise it is not to be unexpected that the green shoots of new start-ups would soon start to appear.
It is worth noting that between 1975 and 1984, milk production in Ireland grew at an average of 5.99pc per year but unfortunately that came to a shuddering halt with the introduction of European milk quotas in 1984.
Now that quotas are no more we may be back to those heady days. It is an undisputed fact that dairying, apart from the exceptional very large beef or tillage units, is the only mainstream farm enterprise that can possibly support a viable business model that offers the farmer a comfortable living from full time farming.
Needless to say there are lots of caveats, constraints and conditions attached to the foregoing statement. Embarking on a new dairy enterprise requires serious thought, planning, analysis and assessment.
Apart from the financial considerations and lifestyle demands, if one is to succeed in dairying there will be a requirement for expert knowledge and expertise and one simply cannot expect to convert from being a drystock or tillage farmer to being a dairy farmer overnight.
If you think it's as simple as that, you are in for a big shock. In my opinion, no farmer in his or her right mind should consider a new start-up dairy enterprise without proper training and experience in managing a dairy herd.