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'The processors have added value to their products, but they haven't passed the value back to suppliers'

Sean Connaughton has seen it all in dairying since building up his dairy herd from 10 cows in the 1980s to 110 today. He says the big co-ops need to start sharing more of their profits with farmers to secure the industry's future

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Partnership: Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz have made a success of their dairy farm in the heart of suckler beef country in Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell

Partnership: Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz have made a success of their dairy farm in the heart of suckler beef country in Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell

Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz now farm in partnership with their son Donal, while 14-year-old grandson Glyn also has a keen interest in farming. Photo: Brian Farrell

Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz now farm in partnership with their son Donal, while 14-year-old grandson Glyn also has a keen interest in farming. Photo: Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell

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Partnership: Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz have made a success of their dairy farm in the heart of suckler beef country in Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell

Despite living on the outskirts of Boyle, Co Roscommon, an area traditionally associated with suckler beef farming, Sean Connaughton and his wife Liz decided to set up a dairy herd in the mid-1980s.

They gradually expanded their herd and today they have 110 cows through a 10-unit double up milking parlour.

"The farm was handed over to me in 1986 and we changed over from livestock to dairy," says Sean. "We started off milking 10 or 11 cows and rearing calves onto beef in 1986.