The NRN met with young farmer Matthew Mullen from Co. Meath. Matthew is a full time dairy farmer, in a registered farm partnership with his father Declan, mother Gladys and uncle Gerry. Matthew completed his Green Cert in 2015 and joined the registered farm partnership in 2017.

That year, the Mullen Partnership put plans in place to build and update the milking facilities on the family farm. Matthew qualified under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (YFCIS) within the TAMSII and was eligible for a 60% grant rate. Declan, Gladys and Gerry were eligible for a 40% grant rate under the TAMSII scheme due to the registered farm partnership.

The building works were completed in February 2018 and the family are now enjoying a bespoke milking facility that has eased the workload on the entire family. A new 26 unit milking parlour, with an automated feeding system and electronic drafting facilities, has reduced milking times alone to just 3 hours per day. Overall cow welfare has improved; the standing time for cows entering the parlour has greatly reduced leading to lesser instances of lameness and improvements in milk yield.

“Without the TAMSII scheme, efficiency technologies such as a Plate Cooler, a Heat Recovery Unit, Auto-washer, Cluster Removers, Drafting Facilities and even office space to centralise all paperwork and records would not have been considered as we simply could not have afforded it. Sustainability and efficiency are high profile topics but to actually implement measures can be very costly to the farmer. The TAMSII scheme has eased that burden.” said Matthew.

The biggest benefit Matthew has seen on the farm is the reduced milking time. “The herd has grown from 140 cows in 2014 to 315 cows today. The new facilities have allowed us to milk more cows in less time, which means we can now target other areas for increased efficiency, like grassland management. I began measuring and recording grass growths in summer 2018 – we simply hadn’t the time to implement it before then.”

Over the next five years Matthew is turning his focus to the herd EBI. Matthew and his father have worked out a breeding programme with their advisor which incorporates the use of high EBI bulls for the 2020 breeding season.

The NRN would like to thank Matthew and Declan for taking the time out of their busy spring schedule to talk to us about their farm.