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Monday 16 January 2017

Top Origin Green farmers announced by Bord Bia

FarmIreland Team

Published 21/10/2016 | 23:00

Dermot Sherry, a Co Monaghan farmer, who won the Liquid/Winter Milk Category
Dermot Sherry, a Co Monaghan farmer, who won the Liquid/Winter Milk Category

Some of Ireland's most sustainable and environmentally friendly farms were rewarded in the Origin Green Producer Awards.

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Ireland’s most sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly family farms were honoured tonight at Bord Bia’s Origin Green Sustainable Producer Awards.

A total of 28 farms from across the country selected as finalists for the competition, from which eight producers were awarded as winners of their particular category.

Opening the awards Bord Bia’s CEO, Aidan Cotter, said each of the 28 finalists is here on the strength, firstly, of the outstanding scores they achieved in their farm audits and, secondly, the truly impressive commitment they have shown to sustainability in their farming activities.

"That sense of leadership is what will help us win in the marketplace, is what brings us here tonight and makes this an opportune time to celebrate what is best in Irish farming.”

Beef Awards

Suckler to Beef Category: Alfie Kirwan’s suckler herd near Killimor, Co Galway has one of the highest calving rates in the country and is now converting to organic production, encouraged by demand for this premium niche market.

Suckler to Weanling/Store Category: Neville Myles, from Ballyshannon in Co Donegal, who runs a 70-cow suckler herd, was recognised for his quality breeding and grassland management that produces high-performing weanlings.

Weanling/Store to Beef Category: Tullamore based, Kieran Dooley, along with his brother Brian and son Joe, specialise in the intensive finishing of well-bred continental young bulls and heifers, and have a keen focus on market demand.

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Dairy Calf to Beef Category: Brothers Pat and Tom Redmond operate a significant calf to beef enterprise in Gorey, Co Wexford. Production is coordinated so as to finish 10 high-quality Angus-cross heifers per week, to supply beef to the family’s two hotels in Gorey.

Dairy Awards

Small/Medium Herd Category: According to the judges John Joe and Theresa O’Sullivan’s dairy farm in Rosscarbery Co Cork, supplying Lisavaird Co-op, is a hive of productivity. They milk 70 cows on 45 hectares, with cows grazing over 300 days a year every year. Biodiversity was noted to be a key feature on this excellent dairy farm with a habitat, some woodland, an ancient fort and an orchard where John Joe practices his hobby of beekeeping.

Liquid/Winter Milk Category: Dermot Sherry, Drumhillock, Co Monaghan is using grass measurement and management to improve productivity on his farm. Supplying LacPatrick Co-Op, cow numbers this year reached a peak of 118, up from 70 just a few years ago. 

Carbon Footprint Reduction Category: Patrick Brennan, a farmer outside Ballingarry, Co Tipperary, who milks over 170 cows and supplies Arrabawn Co-Op, has made small changes resulting in large efficiency gains. Patrick’s attention to detail and tweaks to his system have resulted in a reduction of the carbon footprint of this farm.

Large Herd Category: The judges were particularly impressed by John Hannigan from Dromcollogher Co. Limerick who supplies Kerry Co-Op, who has focussed on breeding to build a solid foundation for his farm of over 110 Friesian cows.

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