What's more profitable milk or honey? It's a toss up for these farmers
Cork farmers milking 200 cows and have 300 bee hives
It's all about milk and honey at Kevin Collins's dual enterprise farm in West Cork where it's a toss up every year as to whether the cows or the bees will bring in the most profit.
"I'd say it's about 50-50. The milk price can go up and down while the honey is sold at the same price, so it probably favours the cows with prices the way they are at the moment," says Kevin.
He farms 230 acres in Timoleague where he runs a pedigree-registered herd of up to 200 Holsteins, some British Friesians along "with a bit of Jersey thrown in."
He supplies milk to Barryroe who are currently paying "43c/l with high fat."
"The price this year is okay especially when compared to the previous two years. We are making a margin. We are not living on the minimum wage. But you need over 30c/l to make a decent wage and milk prices have a habit of diving when they hit the 40c/l mark," Kevin enumerates.
When not milking the herd Kevin switches his attention to the honey business. This involves 300 bee hives which are located at Timoleague and across host farms from Kinsale to Macroom.
Kevin produces his own Black and Green labelled honeys under the Molaga brand. The brand's name derives from St Molaga who ministered in the Timoleague area in ancient times and was a friend of St David, the patron saint of Wales and, some would say, the patron saint of bees.
He has distribution agreements with Tesco and Musgraves for the Molaga brand and also organises distribution to MACE and other outlets himself.