Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Demo farm to showcase sharefarming

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

A new demonstration farm is being established by the four west Cork dairy co-ops to highlight the potential for landless farmers to form profitable sharefarming arrangements with land owners.

The initiative follows the success of Carbery's first initiative with the Shinagh herd, which returned 100pc of the €260,000 invested by the shareholders in the first four years.

However, the next demonstration farm is going to be smaller to target people keen to get involved in dairying that do not have a lot of assets behind them.

It will be based on a 90ac outfarm owned by the west Cork co-ops, with plans in place to set up a low cost 12-unit parlour to milk 100 cows.

Ads have been placed in local papers in the region looking for suitable candidates to enter the sharemilking arrangement, with 60pc of the profits reverting to the sharemilker and 40pc being retained by the land- owners (Shinagh estate).

While the project has taken a year to get planning, the co-ops are now preparing to invest €160,000 in infrastructure on the farm. The owners are targeting a 15pc annual return on their investment after depreciation. All machinery will be supplied by the sharemilker.

"There's no doubt that the size of the unit will make it challenging to keep it viable," admitted Teagasc dairy advisor, John McNamara.


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"But reality is that the only people that can set up new dairy farms like those in action at Shinagh and Greenfield are farmers with existing operations that are milking a minimum of 150 cows.

"We want to show the opportunities for someone who is already a skilled farm manager to get their first step on the ladder. In time, it could be a model for a springboard for people to go on to bigger projects or even buy into their own farms," he said.

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