A suitable farm for a dairy conversion was identified in Co Kilkenny whereby the owners are willing to rent it for a period of no less than 15 years. A new limited company was set-up incorporating the following three shareholders: Glanbia plc, Irish Farmers Journal and the farm owners as equal partners. The new company has leased 117 hectares from the farm owners.The farm was in continuous cereal production for a number of years. A low cost, labour efficient farm infrastructure was developed. A herd of approximately 310 cows has been established and over time this will increase to 350. The approximate capital requirement to set-up the farm infrastructure and stock the farm will be approximately 1.0 million of which 70% will be borrowed from AIB and the remaining 30% funded equally from the three shareholders. Teagasc Moorepark will provide management services to the project which will include business planning and intensive technical support. In return for these services, the farm will be used extensively as a platform for the dissemination of information to the wider Irish dairy farming community through the Teagasc advisory services as part of the BETTER farm programmes. The profit generated from the operation of this business will be used for debt pay down, reimburse the three equity partners investment and defray the additional expenses associated with the dissemination of information from the farm.
- To demonstrate best practise in the design, construction and operation of a low cost grass based milk production system to Irish dairy farmers within the constraints of commercial farm practise.
- To provide a financial return in excess of capital costs and the opportunity costs of risk free investment.
- To actively seek labour productivity gains through the adoption of technologies and practices that reduce labour requirement or make the work environment more satisfying
- To operate an efficient and well organised business unit
- To use environmental and animal welfare best practice, while enhancing profitability.