Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

On the farm: Owen Brodie

Owen Brodie
Owen Brodie

Ken Whelan

Owen Brodie milks a 180 dairy herd on the shores of Lough Ramor and the 140 acres he rents on the western side of the lake.

The heavy rain over the last month means getting lime and fertiliser out has been a serious challenge and Owen is keeping his fingers crossed that the weather continues to improve this month.

Some 25ac of the home farm is at lakeside level and if there is any more rain, flooding is inevitable. "The water is at land level now but if there is flooding we will just have to deal with it," says the 40-year-old. "Apart from the rain bucketing down I had to spend a day looking for my boat which slipped its moorings and off with it into the lake.

"It's been a feast or a famine this year grass-wise. We have had a great run of grass growth but it has been tricky to manage because of the rain. The milk yields from the cows have dropped somewhat. Last week we averaged 18 litres per cow and we normally produce 19l to 20l per cow. But the proteins stayed up well at 3.75. It's a 12-hour day for me," says the father-of-three who supplies to Lakeland Dairies. "I am milking at 6am and on again at 4pm and sorting out things on the farms in between."

He employs one farmhand - Walter, an Estonian, who has been in Cavan for the last 10 years. "He's top class. He used to work on one of those huge co-operative farms back in Estonia and is a great help."

With his wife Rosemarie job sharing as an oncology nurse at Cavan General and his three children, Megan (16), Luke (14) and Niamh (6) back to school, Owen reckons he will have some time shortly to draw up his farm budget for the upcoming year. "I do it every September and it's scary work."

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