PM I have been farming since I was 16, leaving school to work on the home farm with my parents. School was not my thing and I have always been passionate about farming and agriculture, never wanting to do anything else. On the home farm we were very much mixed farming producing milk, beef,malting barley,turnips for store sheep,sugar beet and a few drills of potatoes. When I inherited my own farm I started out producing calf to beef, later moving to Sucklers and sheep.
PM The main breed of ewe on the farm is Belclare crosses, which I breed myself. They are very prolific and good mothers. I put Charolais rams on these, as well as crossing some of them back to Belclare for replacements.
I really like the Charolais, they are a very hardy lamb, get up and suck their mothers. They also have excellent conformation and finish quickly.
LdS So when did you start selling your lamb direct? And what made you decide to give it a go?
PM I started selling lambs direct 3 years ago. The decision to sell direct came about because of the poor prices been received from the factories for lambs and new ways to improve returns had to be looked at.
LdS How have you been advertising the lamb up till now?
PM . I advertise on the local paper "The Nenagh Guardian" and word of mouth worked very well. I have just launched a new website for the farm and Coorevin lamb has a section on that too.
LdS Was it slow to get the direct sale going, or did customers come along fairly quickly?
PM Direct selling went very well from the start, customers firstly loved the taste of the lamb and secondly the value they were getting in buying direct.
PM Customers are getting good value and also they know where the meat is coming from. If it isnt right they won’t be repeat customers. And yes, there is a bigger margin for me the producer as I'm leaving out the middle man and adding value to what I produce. The margin is around €30 per lamb.
LdS Do you plan to expand into selling the beef direct too?
PM No plans as yet to sell beef direct but maybe in the future.
LdS I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that! There is a lot more optimism in farming at the moment... how do you think things are going to go?
PM. Its about time that there is a return of optimism to farming. During the celtic tiger we were a waste of space, we were to sell sites or sell the farm because we werent needed. With growing populations food is in short supply. also water is going to be to big issue going forward which will restrict food growing in some parts of the world. That gives us an added advantage over alot of countries. I believe there is going to be a very good future for agriculture going forward.
LdS Good enough for your sons to stay in farming?
PM Yes, both of my sons very much followed the agriculture route. Ronan is employed with Arrabawn co-op. He started with them after graduating from GMIT. Eoin completed two years in Gurteen college and is now working full time with local farmers.
LdS Bord Bia are putting most of their emphasis on export for the future... what do you think about that?
PM We certainly need to have a vibrant export market because we wouldn't be able to consume all the food we produce here in Ireland. I think we export 80% of what we produce. Of course they should also be keeping an eye on the home market as well and also looking at the whole area of labelling because it’s misleading the way some products are labelled.
Thanks Padraig. Well, if you’re worried about labelling then you can’t do better than buy straight from a producer you know and trust! As Padraig mentioned, he now has a great new website, and you can order some excellent lamb there. You’ll also find details of other activities on the farm, including tours and some very unusual conference facilities. Take a look on www.coorevinfarm.com