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01 October 2019

New Entrant to Dairy – Key Considerations

Posted By: AIB Business
Cows in a field looking at camara.

Dairy Summer Tour visits start up dairy farms. With an increasing number of dairy new entrants, the Irish Grassland Association (IGA) Dairy Summer Tour, sponsored by AIB Bank, visited two new entrants that are already achieving high levels of performance.

While different in terms of scale, there were many similarities to gaining success. Firstly, the importance of sourcing excellent quality stock at the outset and providing excellent quality feed in the form of reseeded pasture was common to both farms. Both emphasised the hard work and planning required to establish a new dairy business, and the impact of expansion on cash flow. Having worked extremely hard in the early years, both farms can look forward to reaping the fruits of their labour in future years.

More memorable insights for new entrants from the host farmers:

  • The most important lesson I’ve learned is to keep good grass in front of your cows. It puts milk in the tank and money in your pocket
  • Focus on your grassland management and it will pay you back all day long. And your cows. If you get both of them right a lot of the rest will follow
  • It’s not always easy, far from it, but if you like what you do, it’s a nice lifestyle
  • Most of the investment on the farm has been on cows and grass and infrastructure to get the cows out to grass!!
  • My advice to young farmers is to get good advice, and surround yourself with good people – your agricultural advisor and/or good experienced farmers that you know and trust that have been there done that
  • I would recommend to young farmers that they actually physically milk cows somewhere before you start to know what you’re getting into. It’s a lifetime investment. You really need to be sure you like what you’re doing before you start.
  • The farm won’t achieve its full potential overnight. It takes time and a lot of investment
  • I always wanted to come home and farm. We needed a package that would financially support two incomes and our previous enterprise wouldn’t suffice


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