Residing beside his grandfather’s dairy farm sparked Kevin Greaney’s interest in dairying from a young age.
The Rahoon, Co. Galway native often recalls working alongside his father and his grandad on the farm, watching them milk cows and being assigned tasks such as calf-rearing.
As he got older, his responsibilities expanded to machinery-related tasks, including feeding silage and fertiliser and slurry spreading.
It was since then that Kevin says he “got more into it and it’s when I knew I wanted to be a farmer; I learned a lot when I was younger”.
“I like working outdoors. I don’t really like working indoors, so that’s where I also gained the love for farming.”
After finishing his Leaving Certificate, Kevin applied for agricultural courses through the CAO. He received offers from course providers but decided to complete the Green Cert.
Now, he is undertaking a Level 7 Professional Diploma in Dairy Herd Management.
“I have more interest in the practical side of farming. I started with my Level 5. Since doing that, I got more of an insight into farming and was able to go on an eight-week placement.”
“The theory side of this course was good; I enjoyed that. After passing my Level 5, I went on to do my level 6 in Mountbellew and choose to do an Advanced Certificate in Dairy Herd Management.”
“We had a great dairy lecturer. Also, we went through everything from the markets within the industry, grassland management to all the practical sides of dairy farming.”
The Galway native completed his Level 5 placement on a 200-cow expanding dairy herd in Claregalway. Furthermore, he undertook a sixteen-week placement for his Level 6 course on a 300-cow dairy farm in Oranmore.
He is now on his level 7 placement on a 450-cow dairy herd in Birr, Co. Offaly.
“My Level 5 placement was the first farm I worked on other than the home farm. I was given jobs like feeding calves, cleaning out sheds and dealing with cow health.”
“It was more of them showing me what to do and explaining, so I had the understanding to carry onto the future. Whereas for my Level 6, the farm owner gave me more responsibilities such as milking and calving cows. I feel this placement was where I learned most of my knowledge to this day.”
“I got chosen for an interview in Moorepark as part of the Level 7 Professional Diploma in Dairy Herd Management programme. It was an obvious one for me to take it. I have been on my placement in Birr since mid-August. I feel it’s my best placement so far as I’ve been given even more responsibilities.”
Outlook on the dairy industry
The 20-year-old, like many other dairy farmers, has noticed how the dairy sector has expanded since the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.
“I find there’s a lot of new entrants coming in from former beef herds. There’s money to be made in dairy; the proof is on paper.”
“Yes, there is a heavier workload, but running a successful dairy farm comes with a good lifestyle and a good profit at the end of the day. It’s very rewarding.”
“There are a lot of opportunities for Irish milk in the market as it’s probably one of the best quality milks in the world.”
With great ambition for the future, Kevin hopes to become a dairy farm manager for several years after completing his Level 7 to gain further experience.
“Hopefully, if everything goes successfully for me, I’d like to acquire a long-term leased farm in the future.”
“I’d hope to milk around the 150-250 cow mark nothing more nothing less, just to make it sustainable and a make a good future out of it.”
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