HUNDREDS of farmers interested in converting or expanding their business gathered in South Cork last week to learn more about the first-hand experiences of Robert and Daniel Cronin on their farm in Oysterhaven near Kinsale.
The farmers also had the opportunity to speak to experts from Teagasc and Ulster Bank about the opportunities, challenges, best practice and benefits of conversion and expansion.
Prior to conversion to dairying in 2017, the Cronins operated a tillage and suckler farm. While looking to the future and facing falling margins in tillage and beef, they decided to explore the possibility of converting their farm in 2015.
With the help of Don Crowley from Teagasc and Patrick Gowing of the Teagasc Dairy Expansion Service, a business plan was developed to plot their journey into dairying. Ulster Bank provided financial support and sectoral expertise and has been with the Cronin family every step of the way.
Speaking about their decision, Daniel Cronin said: ‘It was a big decision to convert our farm and it was a career change for me. But, having the back up of Teagasc and the support of Ulster Bank, who financed our business plan, gave me a lot of comfort and I knew that we were doing the right thing for the farm and my family.’
The farm walk gave farmers the opportunity to see all elements of conversion to a highly-successful dairy business from parlour infrastructure, grazing infrastructure, herd performance, genetics, and business planning.
Ulster Bank agriculture manager, Dr Anne Marie Butler, said: ‘Farm walks are a great opportunity for the farming community to come together and share information and experiences. We’re delighted that our customers, the Cronin family, have taken part to help other new farmers learn and benefit from their experience.
‘Our dedicated agri managers are out meeting farmers and agri businesses to find out more about how we can help them grow and fulfil their ambitions.’