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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Strathroy supplier on milking 200 Holsteins in Wexford

My week... Sam Rose

Sam Rose on his farm near Gorey, Co Wexford. Photo: Patrick Browne
Sam Rose on his farm near Gorey, Co Wexford. Photo: Patrick Browne

Ken Whelan

Sam Rose is delighted with the current spell of warm weather and is looking forward to getting to a second cut of silage at his farm in Linnannagh outside Gorey in Co Wexford very shortly.

"I really wasn't expecting a second cut so soon but the growth has been massive down here over the past while. We are not complaining".

The 56-year-old runs a herd of 200 Holstein with the help of his sons David (32) and Philip (30) at their 130 acre home farm and on an additional 140 acres rented in the Gorey hinterland.

The Holsteins are each producing an average of 28 litres a day of high quality milk for Strathroy.

The rented land is mostly used to produce feed for the herd with some 55 acres of it currently under maize and the rest producing the first and second cuts of silage.

It's a system which works for Sam but with some of the rented land eight miles away from his homeplace, it can be costly in terms of the transportation of both animals and feedstuff.

"It is an expensive overhead transporting animals six, seven and eight miles from the home farm and transporting the silage and maize but that's the way it is," he says.

Sam also has to keep a constant eye on his stocking rates to make sure that no part of the enterprise is overstocked.

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He adds that the land rental market in Wexford at the moment is competitive but not exorbitant, he says.

The only big expense he has had recently is the construction of a slatted shed on the main farm two years ago but he says this was money well spent.

The milk price he is receiving at the moment from Strathroy - " I was one of the guys who left Glanbia a few years ago" - also seems to be competitive at around 33c/l but wearing his other cap as Wexford ICMSA chairman he says there is always room for improvement.

'The milk price is okay at the moment. Much better than last year which was just dreadful but I can't see us getting back to 40c/l which we got a few years ago," he says.

On prices generally, he says that there was more profit in the dairy sector 10 years ago because input costs were much cheaper back then.

Sam would like to see a continuation in one form or another of last year's EU voluntary milk reduction scheme which saw a payment to farmers as an aid to help mitigate price volatility.

Sam was reared on a much smaller dairy farm in Dunlavin in Co Wicklow and then his family upped sticks after he completed his Ag studies in Baltinglass some 32 years ago and moved the 40 miles across the border to the Model County.

Sam's sons have completed their agricultural education in Cork with the eldest David doing additional specialist embryo transfer studies in Texas. His third son John works in a butchery business in Wexford.

Sam main interest off the farm is his involvement with the ICMSA. "I used to play table tennis a lot but I don't do that now and frankly I have no interest in football of any kind. I leave that to the lads"


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