THE overall winner of the Republic’s Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 is Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, County. Cork.
The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards is now in its fourth year and rewards the top grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms. The awards are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €30,000. The winners were announced as part of a recent online awards ceremony.
Speaking at the online awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue congratulated the achievements in grassland management of all of the 15 finalists.
He said: “As finalists you are joining a group of top class grassland farmers, and I would particularly like to congratulate Caroline Walsh 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. Good grassland management is essential in meeting the targets set down in the AgClimatise Strategy.”
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 first four-year phase of the programme has been completed and the second phase commences in 2021.
A spokesman for the competition judges said: “One thing that stood out for the judges this year was a notable shift in attitude towards protecting the environment. This was seen as important as grass production itself and it probably reflects the changing attitude among farmers in general.
“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 14.5 tonnes of Dry Matter per hectare just shows that you can be very efficient while also being very sustainable.”
Padraig Walsh, dairy farmer, and chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee, said: “Grass10 is a very important project for the promotion of best practise in grassland management. There are challenges ahead for all grassland farmers, inside and outside the farm gate, however, the farmers who have participated in the Grass10 grass groups have improved their grassland management decision making.
“Increasing grass utilisation is one of the most important improvements that can be made across all enterprises. We need to continue the focus on grass utilisation, which will increase our own feed resources inside the farm gate.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.