Article; The Strive To Expand

In 2015, for the first time in over 30 years, farmers can now expand milk production without the hassle of milk quotas. The whole abolition of quota presents great opportunities for dairy farmers to expand. There will be undoubtedly success for many, for others, however, expansion may bring heavier workloads and increased stress without any long term benefits.
The main requirement for the whole expansion process is that it is stainable from all aspects for the business perspective. This basically means, that the business should focus on the accurate conversion of home grown feed to saleable products that are recognised as being of high quality and are safe to consume.
In a lot of cases, expansion is not planned effectively. There is no money in expansion the money only starts to come in once you have expanded. From farm to farm, the amount of investment needed varies. Expansion costs are indeed very individual.
Getting ready for expansion or conversion can be a challenging as well as a rewarding experience, here are the main tips and advice to help you along the way in your expansion:

• Plan your farm with labour efficiency in mind, design sheds, roads, yards, milking parlour and handling facilities with cow and operator comfort and safety in mind and also with the objective of getting the job done quickly.
• Plan your time in advance to make the best use of it and your farm worker’s time. Don’t be afraid to delegate and don’t get over worked as it will do you no favours in the long run.
• Use only skilled, trained, insured staff. FRS can provide this as well as giving you one invoice which is tax deductible. Black market labour can be very costly if the work is not carried out correctly, it can also end up costing you more if you compare to the net cost of using FRS (including for tax deductibility).
• Make a plan for your record-keeping, don’t let paperwork get on top of you or keep you from the important business of farming. Check out Herdwatch our new software and app for herd management to make your paperwork and compliance recording more efficient. It saves farmers up to four hours per week on paperwork. for more information.
• Evaluate your own training needs – enrol in the FRS/AHI/Teagasc, Best Practice in Milking Course – it should improve your routine and milk quality. It will also gain you a FETAC Level 6 Certificate. Identify any other training needs you may have and get your-self upskilled eg. financial, time management, chainsaw safety, spraying operations, Quad bike etc. Check out for specialised agricultural and business courses.
• Protect your livelihood by planning for unforeseen circumstances such as accident or illness. Join the FRS Membership Benefit Scheme which gives you the peace of mind that your farm will be looked after if you are unable to work. Visit for further details.
• Make sure your farm is a safe and comfortable working environment. Are there any areas which could be made safer or more efficient? Complete or update your safety statement and check out farm safety courses available through
• FRS can help you to plan for expansion, call us for confidential, no-obligation free advice. We can tailor packages to suit your farm needs.
Realistically sustainable expansion has three main aims: Firstly, It should be profitable for the farmer. Secondly, it should look after the environment and thirdly it should improve the lifestyle of the farmer over all. It is already evident since the abolition of milk quotas that there is going to be a significant increase in milk production over the coming years.
If you are looking for any expansion tips or advice do not hesitate to contact FRS on (0505) 22100 or visit our website

News: FRS brought Farm Safety Awareness to this year’s Charleville Show

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In 2014, thirty people died on farms. That number accounts for 54% of all workplace deaths in Ireland. In the first five months of 2015, five people died on farms versus 12 in the same period in 2014. Around 2,500 non-fatal accidents causing injury occur on farms manually.
Once again the team at FRS (Farm Relief Services) were invited by the Charleville Show organisers to demonstrate the importance of Farm safety at this year’s show, which took place on Sunday June 29th. Every year these live demonstrations prove to entice the crowd and this year was no different.
FRS received a great response to the Farm Safety Demo which showed people the dangers of an unprotected P.T.O shaft on a tractor by using mannequins. The team also demonstrated good manual handling and safe ear and eye protection.
The Agri kids section was also received very well by both children and parents. Fifty books were given out from the “Tales from Riverside Farm” series which went down a treat. Luke O’ Brien from Effin, Co. Limerick was the lucky winner of a toy tractor having correctly identified farming hazards on a drawing. Well done Luke.
We look forward to next year’s show.
Check out our facebook page for constant updates

News: Charity BBQ

charity BBQ

A Charity barbecue will take place on Sunday the 19th of July at the yard of Shane Nolan of Finavara, Burrin, Co. Clare. This will be sign posted on the road between Kinvara and Ballyvaughan from 2pm-6pm, on behalf of Farm Contractors of Ireland (FCI). The event will raise funds for Galway Hospice and Embrace Farm. Shane Nolan who has one of the largest John Deere fleet in the west of Ireland has opened his yard to the public for this fund raising event. He built up his contracting business over the last 30 years which includes baling, pit silage, slurry spreading with the trailing shoe etc. and still finds time to do 500 acres of tillage. He will show the newer combine and still has the combine his father bought new in 1981, AND it works.

It is able to get in to the fields that the bigger machine can’t, also on display will be an old self propelled silage harvester where Shane took the grass equipment off and mounted a front mower adding more useful years to this machine. Possibly the best John Deere model farm will also be on display as previously seen at Galway’s annual Model and Diorama shows, (every kids wish big and small). A large display of John Deere machinery can be seen on the day with machines as low as 20 hp to the big monsters of 500hp+ & where big and small kids can safely see these machines in their working clothes. Music entertainment & bouncy castles for kids, food will be provided.

All are welcome to this social gathering.

A day not to be missed.

Contact details. Shane on  086 6008139.


News: Remembered & Missed. Hundreds set to commemorate those lost to farming accidents

12/06/2015 Brian Rohan pictured with his wife Norma and Brid Corkerey at the launch of Embrace Farm. Pic: Don Moloney

Brian Rohan pictured with his wife Norma and Brid Corkerey at the launch of Embrace Farm.
Pic: Don Moloney

People of all ages who lost their lives in Ireland’s most dangerous working environment will be commemorated on June 28th next in a special Embrace FARM Remembrance Service.  The Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Abbeyleix will hold the service which takes place at 2pm.  Deepest respects will be paid to the large amount of people throughout the country who tragically lost their lives to farming accidents.

This year marks the second annual Remembrance Service organised by Embrace FARM –an organisation which was established to honour the memory of those who died and suffered serious injuries in farming accidents and to also support their loved ones.

The service is expected to draw almost 800 people connected to victims of tragic accidents from across the country.

Among those attending the service will be Simon Coveney Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, renowned rugby player and farmer John Hayes, current Irish rugby international Sean O Brien along with other industry representatives and clergy.

The event itself is led by Embrace FARM founders Brian Rohan and his wife Norma a farming family from Shanahoe co. Laois.  The pair launched the voluntary organisation last year in memory of Brian’s late father Liam, who was killed following an accident on the family farm in 2012.

The service itself acts as a place of comfort for those who have lost their loved ones, an opportunity to get their stories off their chest.  Mr Rohan said, “People get to discuss their own particular experience and last year so many got great comfort from just getting to talk to others who have experienced their pain.”

This year’s event comes after a traumatic year in 2014 for fatal faming accidents.  During the year some 30 people lost their lives to farm accidents, an 87% increase in comparison to 2013.

Announcing this year’s Remembrance Service with Embrace FARM alongside supporter Cork dual star Briege Corkery, Mr Rohan said, “When we were here last year we were hoping that we would see a major fall off in farm accidents but unfortunately the death toll continues.  It’s a terrible emotional impact as well as a practical one”.

12/06/2015 Brian Rohan pictured with Brid Corkerey at the launch of Embrace Farm. Pic: Don Moloney

Brian Rohan pictured with Brid Corkerey at the launch of Embrace Farm.
Pic: Don Moloney

The toll itself triggered a major safety awareness campaign from Embrace FARM, with their viral video campaign ‘What’s left behind’.  However, the death toll continues with 7 people having lost their lives so far this year in farm accidents.

The whole aim behind the service was to develop the event into an annual remembrance at Provincial level and to develop various support structures to help families to come to terms with the irreplaceable loss of their loved ones.

For Mr. Rohan the service is an opportunity for people to come together, especially those who have dealt with the same experience, “We founded the organisation principally to provide support to families, like ours, who find themselves trying to deal with the death of a loved one on a family farm.  The Remembrance Service is the biggest opportunity of the year for us to do that as it enables people who have that tragic common experience to come together and share their sense of loss and indeed memory of their loved ones.”

Also speaking at the launch, Briege Corkery, who milks 500 cows twice daily with her boyfriend Diarmuid, said, “When you hear of an accident or much worse a fatality on a farm, it does stop you in your tracks.  It is a dangerous working environment and we all need to be so careful because of that.  So many Irish families have paid a terrible toll due to farm accidents and the Remembrance Service is an opportunity for them to come together and have the support of each other as they think of their loved ones.  Embrace FARM deserves huge credit for what they have done and I am delighted to support them.”

A part of this service will be the reading out of names of the people who have died in farm accidents.  The organisers have asked those who want their loved one’s names read out to contact them on (085) 7709966 or send them an email at or visit

In order to improve Farm Safety and create awareness FRS will be holding Farm safety displays at The Athlone Agri show Sunday June 28 and Charleville agricultural show June 28.

For more information on the farm safety displays visit: