Meet Dairy Farmers: Peter and Enda

Learn about Peter and Enda, father and son dairy farmers raising their cows on lush, green pastures in the countryside of Ireland

4th generation dairy farmers, Peter (left) and Enda (right).

Father and son, Peter and Enda, are 4th generation dairy farmers in the countryside of Ireland, where rolling hills of lush, green farmland stretch as far as the eye can see.  

Their farm began on 20-30 acres in the 1840s by Peter’s great-great-grandfather. Today, Peter and Enda care for over four times that acreage, amounting to all the grazing space a cow could dream of.

“You get the best milk from cows when they’re stress free and happy. They have everything they want here, and they’re comfortable as they can be.”

Peter and Enda are a two-man team with a strong relationship and working dyamic. “It’s more or less just ourselves. If dad’s away, then I look after things, and if I’m away, he’ll look after it.”

Enda joined his father on the farm full-time in 2018. Before that, he helped Peter on nights and weekends while attending college in Dublin, studying animal science and agriculture. Later, he worked on various farms as an advisor for best practices on grass management, breeding, and finances. Put simply, he’s pleased to be home.

“It’s important to continue the family farm – it’s been around forever. It’s also lovely being out in the countryside and having this freedom. Plus, I like talking to cows more than I like talking to people,” Enda laughs.

Each morning, Peter and Enda start their chores at 7 am. The early hours of the day are spent milking. Then, two short hours later, at 9 am, it’s time to let the girls out. Peter and Enda slide the blue-painted barn’s door open and guide their herd to the pasture. The cows don’t hesitate one bit – running straight to the fields, excited for a day of munching nutrient-rich grass!

“It’s much healthier for the cow to be out in the field. Grass is the best feed for them to produce the highest quality of milk.”

Peter and Enda practice pasture rotation to keep the grass rich and lush for their girls. Once a pasture has been grazed, they top the clean, freshly grazed ground with a slurry of manure. This process helps them get the most of their resources, while optimizing the nutrients within the next growth cycle of grass.

“The slurry is one of the most valuable resources on the farm and it’s important that we get the most use out of it,” Peter notes.

Speaking of natural resources and efficiency, Peter and Enda will happily geek out over genotyping, a program that ensures they breed cows that sustainably produce plenty of milk for years to come. “What we’re looking at is reducing the carbon footprint,” Enda looks up at his father and continues, “There’s nothing dad loves more than an animal that is going to produce a lot of milk, while also being impactful upon the environment.”

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