Philip Tyndall from Enniscorthy has been named Young Farmer of the Year at the Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards while Gorey farmer, Brigid Carroll, has received an award for Innovation in Grassland. The overall winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year was Colin Doherty from Adare in Co Limerick.
Now in its fifth year the awards recognise and reward the top grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms in a sustainable manner. The awards are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €20,000.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D. congratulated the finalists on their achievements in grassland management. He said; “As finalists you are joining a group of top class grassland farmers, and I would particularly like to congratulate Colin Doherty on winning the overall Grassland Farmer of the Year Award.
"It’s an achievement you can be really proud of. It is clear that initiatives such as Grass10 and the Grassland Farmer of the Year are to the fore in helping farmers achieve the most they can from the natural resource they have on their farm, which is grass.”
The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards are part of the Teagasc Grass10 campaign which is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc, AIB, FBD Insurance, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal. The 1st year of Phase II of the programme has been completed with a continued focus on improving nutrient management and efficiency on farm and clover incorporation.
Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Aidan Brennan Irish Farmers Journal said: “One thing that we looked at this year was clover establishment and management. We also focussed on sustainability, particularly the environmental footprint, but also health and safety. There was a massive uptake of low emission slurry spreading and protected urea among the contestants. The fact that the average grass growth among the finalists was 13.4 tonnes of dry matter per hectare just shows that you can be very efficient while also being very sustainable.”
Padraig Walshe, dairy farmer and chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee said, “Grass10 is a very important programme for the promotion of best practise in grassland management. It’s about transferring the research and innovation out onto farms. These awards are a celebration of this. It is very important to recognise the excellence achieved and we look forward to holding farm walks later in the year, so the messages get out to more farmers.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “Congratulations and very well done to all the farmers who are finalists today. You are all exceptional farmers doing an excellent job and today is a day to acknowledge this. Your focus on grass growth, grass measurement, and the grass management skills is acknowledged through these awards. In relation to the Grass10 programme, the focus in Phase II, is to challenge four main areas. These areas are specifically; Moving Grassland Knowledge out to the industry; Continuing to increase the usage of PastureBase Ireland; Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency on grassland farms in 2022 and increasing the emphasis and adoption of White Clover in grassland swards.“
Professor Frank O’Mara, Teagasc Director said; ”Grass is the bedrock of our beef, dairy and sheep enterprises. It is what gives us our competitive advantage from an economic and environment perspective.”