Grace Maher: Beef crisis has highlighted the urgent need for diversification
The beef crisis has again raised serious questions about future levels of production in that sector.
The beef crisis has again raised serious questions about future levels of production in that sector.
Cover crops have become increasingly popular in arable production, mostly due to the fact that it is supported under the GLAS scheme as a greening measure.
Gavin Tully farms 100 acres in Clonhenritte, which is just outside of Camolin in Co Wexford. He operates an arable farm growing a wide range of crops including 30ac of malting barley, 12ac of...
When Deirdre O'Sullivan and Norman Kenny purchased Nurney House with its accompanying 14 acres near Carbury, Co Kildare back in 1990...
Five years ago Fergal Byrne reached a crossroads in his farming life.
The German and French organic markets - worth a combined €17bn - are being targeted as opportunities for Irish producers as the sector continues to grow in the country.
This year's unusual weather patterns have increased financial burdens on farmers, and with input costs rising, the months ahead will be challenging.
As with most farmers, 2018 has proven a challenging year for organic vegetable grower Vincent Grace.
This year’s unusual weather patterns have increased financial burdens on farmers, and with input costs rising, the months ahead will be challenging.
Our weather over the past 12 months has delivered storms, hurricanes, monsoon rains and finally drought. Increased uncertainty in weather patterns has made forward planning extremely difficult for farmers.
It's a big leap from a background in theology and working with the homeless to organic farming, but it’s a journey Dominic Leonard has travelled in...
It's 20 years since Fintan and Valerie Rice from Fethard in Co Tipperary took the unusual step of converting their dairy farm to organic production.
The future looks bright for the organic sector. Bord Bia data on the retail multiples showed that the organic market grew by 10.5pc in 2017 and is now worth an estimated €162m.
While food trends come and go, the 'free from' category is growing. A Bord Bia survey carried out earlier this year found that 20pc of respondents had purchased gluten-free products.
One morning while Kevin Scully was feeding the cattle with his youngest daughter, Niamh, she asked what the cattle were eating.
He didn't grow up on a farm, but David Butler always had an interest in poultry and when the opportunity presented itself, he took the plunge into organic farming.
When the biggest organic farm in the country went on the market a few years back, it caught the attention of high-profile buyers from near and afar.
Alan Ward and Emma Hennessy switched to organic farming this year as conventional farming was just not lucrative for them.
The third tranche of the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) under the Rural Development Programme opened for one month at the end of 2018.
There is greater awareness of food provenance right across Ireland, much of which is being fuelled by younger consumers interested in where and how the food and drink they consume is produced. While taste is subjective, it is attracting more attention as a distinct selling point.
Dairy farmer Brendan Gildea reckons there is a "fantastic opportunity for conventional tillage farmers to switch to organic", and he believes the fodder shortages resulting from the recent drought could convince people to make the change.
All farmers are suffering with the ravages of the drought but Donald Tracey is confident that his organic oats will not be too badly hit - and even if his yield does end up significantly down, he is looking on the bright side.
As a result of significant market changes, mushroom growers have been forced to look at new product development, and this is where organic mushrooms have generated an interest.
Padraig Fahy and Una Ni Bhroin started Beechlawn Organic Farm in 2003 on the outskirts of Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
Brian O' Regan farms in Dunderrow just outside of Kinsale. A tillage and poultry farmer, he converted the tillage operation to organic production back in 2008.
As farmers around the country calculate the damage from recent weather extremes it once again illustrates just how vulnerable the sector is in the face of changing weather patterns.
Mixed farming is proving a recipe for success for Mark Harold-Barry who farms at Cordangan, just outside Tipperary town.
Consumer demand for organic food is increasing globally and is worth in excess of €75bn, with all the main markets growing in double digits.
As I write this I can hear the drone of combines in the fields around me as the 2017 harvest continues. Yields so far may be slightly lower than anticipated, but the demand for straw is up so overall it may be a good year for tillage farmers.
Agri-environmental measures (AEM) will be just one of the subjects of debate as the policy framework for the next round of the CAP is decided. They play a crucial role in meeting society's demand for environmental outcomes provided by agriculture.
SEAN Ring farms just outside of Castlecomer in Co Kilkenny, where for the past five years he has been producing free-range chickens.
Ireland is experiencing the second fastest growing sales of organic produce globally, with consumers now spending €31 per capita per year on organic food, according to new figures from the Swiss-based Institute For Organic Research.
Foods derived from animal fats have received a lot of negative press over the past few years.
Over the past few weeks vegetables have taken centre stage, which is unusual for this time of the year.
Farming and film-making are unusual bedfellows, but this mix is certainly working for one enterprising Wicklow family - thanks in no small part to the exploits of one Ragnar Lothbrok.
Social farming like organic farming is underdeveloped in Ireland, and we lag badly behind many of our European counterparts in both disciplines.
With demand for organic dairy products seeing continued growth, production is struggling to keep up. New Zealand has had a huge surge in farmers converting to organic production, while European and US farmers lag behind.
The 20pc growth in organic food sales in Ireland in the past year is broadly attributed to people who are making food choices based on health and well-being. These customers are essentially looking for high quality, natural food.
Sales of organic food in Ireland are up 20pc, boosting the prospects for farmers who have converted to organic production in the last 12 months.
The availability of organic protein crops is a big factor in determining viability for livestock farmers, particularly pig and poultry producers. Organic regulations require a GM-free feed which further increases costs.
The concept of cultivating food outside of the traditional rural farming system is nothing new, as throughout the years it has flourished many times especially during war time in Europe and the US.
Two tranches of the Organic Farming Scheme opened in 2015 resulting in an unprecedented number of farmers converting their farms to organics.
Schemes to encourage afforestation have led to the establishment of 26,000 private forest plantations in Ireland since 1980. The majority of these plantations are owned by farmers, making farmers the new foresters.
There is a big focus on food in this year's Christmas advertising with all sorts of products competing to make it onto our tables for the all-important Christmas dinner.
Sales of organic food continue to soar in the United States. In 2014 tills were jingling to the tune of a staggering $39bn (€34.8bn), up 11.3pc on the previous year.
The Organic Farming Scheme opened for six weeks in 2015 and figures issued from the Department show that 870 people applied.
As the annual Bloom Festival draws to a close, horticulture and the business of growing has been gaining some overdue attention in the media.
Organic farmers received confirmation today of a 60pc increase in their payments under a new €56m scheme announced by the Department of Agriculture.
With the lambing season in full swing farmers should be pleased with strong prices as factories are paying €6/kg - and more - in order to secure supply in a tightening market.
The organic sector will become a major driver of EU food exports over the next five years, Commissioner Phil Hogan has predicted.
This year has been declared the International Year of the Soils (IYS) by the UN. The IYS aims to be a platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions.
Anthony Kilcullen began farming in 1962 in Enniscrone, Co Sligo. In September 1984 he changed to organic farming after a considerable amount of research on the subject.
There is a strong interest in organic farming as farmers look at ways to maximise incomes during the coming years.
With the economy showing signs of recovery, agriculture may no longer be seen as the golden light guiding us out of the recession. It has been an excellent year for farming, but prices being paid to farmers are nothing to sing about.
Clover is a small plant with a big function. Red clover is becoming increasingly popular in organic farming but is not widely used outside of the organic sector.
Demand for organic produce in Ireland is growing again at a rate of 2pc per annum according to a report commissioned by Bord Bia.
There is a serious deficit in organic cereal production in Ireland which leaves organic farmers hugely dependent on imported feed.
The absence of degree courses in organic agriculture is a big drawback for entrants to organic farming in this country.
Organic farming echoes many of the principles of traditional farming and is often criticised for being old fashioned. However, many organic farmers argue that it is a highly advanced method of farming requiring intricate knowledge and skill. While organic farming has a younger age profile than conventional farming, some sectors are struggling to attract both new entrants.
Tipperary native Niamh O'Dwyer is a woman of substance. A young mother, she has turned her experience of feeding a young family into a viable business venture that has attracted the support of one of the country's oldest dairy processors.
A year on from the horsemeat scandal and consumers in Ireland and throughout Europe are demanding more traceability and accountability within the meat industry.
Jimmy and Bernadine Mulhall converted to organic farming in 2001. Jimmy says his primary reason for going organic was the rising costs of inputs in conventional production and the variability of the returns.
The key question coming from farmers is whether organic farming is economically viable. With 1.3pc of farmers in Ireland certified as organic, and an ambitious target of 5pc set under Food Harvest 2020, it is difficult to account for such a low conversion rate here.
In January 2012, the Government pledged to increase the amount of locally grown Irish food it buys for hospitals and other public bodies as part of its Green Tenders public procurement plan.
It's been a great season for vegetable growers after five consecutive growing seasons that were poor at best. In fact, after the last two years in particular, 2013 may just have been enough to prevent many growers from giving up altogether.
For many small-scale Irish cheese producers, France is the Brazil of the business.
Irish organic producers need to engage with the ongoing CAP negotiations to secure rural development schemes with the potential to offer additional incomes streams, IOFGA has declared.
The organic sector is no different from the conventional sector in that the majority of farmers are beef producers.
Stephen Briggs, from Abacus Organic Associates in Britain, undertook a Nuffield Scholarship to study the adoption of commercial agroforestry and its applicability to temperate farming systems.
The term 'agroforestry' is one of the newest buzzwords circulating in the organic sector at the moment. It is an integrated land use system that combines elements of agriculture and forestry in a sustainable production system.
Reflecting back on 2012, like most years, there were many things to savour and also many to forget.
2012 was a year when rainfall levels broke records all over the country and farm incomes were down by 12pc. But has it deterred seasoned organic producers?
While John Shirley's recent article ("Is organic farming immoral when millions are starving?") reflects the views of Dr Keith Dawson, the language and the headline used were over dramatic.