Farm History

Whiteleas Farm is a purely dairy operation with no other agricultural enterprise. The farm was bought in 1975 and was run as an out-farm until 1980-1981. The total farm area is 82.99 ha with 54.655 ha owned in one large plot and 28.34 ha rented. Cows were first milked in March 1981 and by 1983 there was ~477,000 L of milk being produced. When quota was introduced in 1984, the farm had a quota of 491,000 L at 3.664% butterfat. Through quota leasing and purchase this gradually increased to 700,000 L by the time milk quotas were abolished in April 2015. The herd now comprises of 180 cows (EBI €229), 45 in-calf heifers (EBI €273) and 63 heifer calves (EBI €281) and a number of stock bulls used for mopping up with EBI’s in excess of €300. Calving commences generally around the 1st or 2nd February with a few early arrivals and is in full swing by February 7th. Cows then go to grass when there are about 20 calved. The herd is a totally closed herd with no animals being bought in. Each year surplus heifer calves are sold to a number of regular buyers. If you are interested in buying, please contact us using the form here.

View into the farmyard, with milking parlour centre and new silo.

The rear yard, view over silage pits to cubicled sheds.

The soil is generally dry due to the underlying shale rock's low moisture holding ability, this is exacerbated by the farm's coastal position. Whiteleas is located on a dry belt that runs up along Ireland’s East coast, giving a 30-year average rainfall of only 732 mm. The farm is situated between 45 m and 91 m above sea level with the rented land being slightly higher at 113 m. This higher ground with its open position can be very windy. However, due to the dry conditions, it is ideal for out-wintering animals. As the farm is very dry and rainfall levels are low, the ground conditions allow an extended grazing season lasting from mid-February to early December. However, soil moisture deficit generally occurs each July/August with varying degrees of severity. These soil conditions are the likely source of the farm name, Whiteleas, meaning white grasslands, perhaps reflecting the scorched grass on the hillsides during particularly dry summers. The land has been known by this name for at least 700 years. It is recorded as Whitelease in the 1656-1658 Down Survey of Ireland, and is mentioned as a supplier of grain in Welsh monastic records from the 1300's.

Outline of the farm.