Recently, the BóPro team had the pleasure of chatting to Thomas Reilly, a dairy farmer from Co. Cavan who has spread his wings globally to grow his personal and professional development.
Thomas decided to pursue his interests in Dairy farming by enrolling in Ballyhaise college which set him up to then travel to New Zealand for three years, before returning back to England for one year.
“I moved to Saudi Arabia in 2016, after reading an article in the Irish Farmers Journal” – Thomas spotted an opportunity to travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to work on a large scale dairy farm, where he then spent 5 years working. Thomas worked 12-hour shifts from 6am to 6pm for a few weeks at a time, earning a well deserved two week break which he often travelled home to Ireland for.
The accommodation for workers in Riyadh was top class with good facilities such as gyms and pools. Thomas joined the local GAA club and travelled across the middle east playing tournaments.
We’re assuming Thomas has racked up some serious Frequent Flyer points!
- The farm size ranged from 5,000 cows to 22,000 cows, with over 600 staff on the larger farms
- AI was used all year round with some sexed semen used.
- Feed was mainly alfalfa with straw, which was imported.
- Temperatures got up to 50 degrees in summer, cows were cooled by misters and fans, the cow houses were cooled to 21 degrees.
- The main health problem on farm was mastitis
(Interesting… says the BóPro team)
Return to farming in Ireland
Thomas has recently returned to Ireland, currently leasing a 194-acre farm in Adare, Co. Limerick. On this farm there are 120 cows being milked, with plans to get to 200 cows in the next 2 years. Thomas has plans to re-seed, put in some new roadways along with a new water system.
Not only that, Thomas and his partner have just taken on a second farm near Adare, with plans of milking 150 cows. The work has just started on the milking parlour there, with some fencing and a water system needed.
The BóPro team were delighted to get in touch with Thomas and hear his stories about travel, large scale farming and his plans for the future. Here lies another top-notch young farmer who reflects all the values that our BóPro farming community have.
We are looking to forward to seeing Thomas progress on his farms over the coming years!
Thomas’s piece of advice to young farmers:
“Make your goals when starting out and stick to them!” – We couldn’t agree more!