“It was never a question about me not taking over the farm. We are now making this investment and I am counting on living a good life in the future,” says Ivan Kiersey.
In southern Ireland, outside Waterford, we find two optimistic young cousins, both 25 years old, who will taking over the farm from their fathers, Kevin and John Kiersey. With the milk quotas gone and a generous European support scheme for young farmers available, there was never a question about taking over the family farm for Ivan and his cousin Patrick Kiersey. They will be the 7th generation to run the farm, and they are looking forward to it.
With the new generation comes change and the adoption of new technology. Today their 240 milking cows are being milked in a 24-unit parlour. Patrick and Ivan Kiersey are planning to split the family farm into two separate units and install two DeLaval VMS™ milking robots on each.
The plan is that Ivan Kiersey renovates the old barn and his cousin, Patrick, is building a new barn. One of the reasons why they decided to split the farm was to secure a European grant for young farmers entering the business. Another reason was to reduce the impact on the land caused by 240 cows on one site.
“We have a lot of pasture and now, with the milk quotas out of the picture, we can increase the number of milking cows on the farm, and decrease the number of beef cattle instead,” says Patrick Kiersey.
We would like to combine robotic farming with grazing in a simple way. With smaller groups on two farms instead of one large group on one farm we will have a minor land impact and can also keep the cows closer to the robots, Ivan adds.