AS a young farmer in Murragh near Enniskeane, Adam Shorten certainly keeps himself busy because as well as working on his own farm he also works as a technician with Munster AI in the surrounding area. It’s a second income for the 23-year-old who lives with his partner, Valerie, and their newly-born son, Darragh.
Son of Kenneth and Rose Shorten, Adam grew up on the family farm and worked on it from an early age. When Adam finished school, he went onto to study for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture that was split between Darrara Agricultural College and CIT.
‘My father, Kenneth, is farming up in Newcestown and I’m renting 50 acres here on the home farm and renting another 50 acres from nearby, so I’m kept busy enough. I’m milking 60 cows in a spring production system and it’s a pure-bred Holstein herd. I started here in 2013 and applied as a new entrant for quota to milk cows and thankfully got it and things have been progressing since,’ said Adam.
‘My work with Munster AI as a technician keeps me busy, with the months of April, May and June being my busiest time. When the AI season isn’t as busy, I get time to catch up on things on the farm.’
Adam has a big interest in cows and the whole breeding process and he artificially inseminates all the cows and heifers to Friesian for the first six weeks and then he used Angus and Herford insemination. He keeps all the calves with the beef breeds and Friesian bull calves being finished for beef on the farm. The replacement heifers are introduced to the herd at two years of age.
Adam hopes to expand his herd by 10% to 15% next year, but it will all depend on the milk price at the time. His partner Valerie and his mother Rose, brothers Andrew, Evan, Mark and sister Robynne all help put out on the farm in their spare time.
Adam’s success with his herd saw him win this year’s Quality Milk Awards for the Bandon Co-Op area, which was an affirmation that he is definitely doing things right.
Farming is a career that Adam is passionate about and the fact that he has grown up on his father’s farm means he loves getting up every morning to milk his cows. ‘You’d definitely want to be enthusiastic about it and love cows and the whole breeding process. You can be working seven days a week and sometimes it involves some late nights too, but I like being my own boss and you can flexible and what’s best is that you get to be outdoors most of the time.’
According to Adam, he does see a future for the family farm, but feels that farms will have to get bigger in order for farmers to sustain a living or otherwise a secondary income is necessary, like he is currently doing with his AI work.
‘I don’t mind all the necessary paperwork either that goes with farming as we covered a lot of this in college and doing it online seems to be the way to go and that’s fine with me.’
When Adam isn’t busy on the farm, he takes time out to spend with Valerie and Darragh.