Agri-BusinessNews

Top Grassland Farmers Receive Awards

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. presented the Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year awards today, Thursday, 11 April at the Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College. The awards are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €33,000.

The Overall Winner of the Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year 2023 is Patrick O’Neill from County Longford. The Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year award is now in its seventh year and recognises the best grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. congratulated all of the winners on their grassland awards. He said, “You are a credit to your families and to the agri sector. I congratulate you all for being here today and well done to the overall winner Patrick O Neill and his family. You can all be really proud of your achievements.”

The Sustainable 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, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal. The Grass10 programme has placed an ongoing focus on improving nutrient management and efficiency on farms and clover establishment and its management.

Chair of the Grass10 Committee, John MacNamara said, “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the farmers and students here today and especially their families. Families are so important to successful farms, fulfilling a range of roles, and providing vital support. This is the All Ireland title for grassland farmers. You can be proud of being here today. You are all winners. It’s great to bring this awards presentation to Ballyhaise, to this part of the country.”

Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal thanked the farmers for taking part in the competition. He said, “The judges were impressed with the levels of grass production and management. We looked over data for a number of years. The prominence of clover has increased on farms, in line with our environmental ambitions. Nutrient management is becoming more important. If you have clover in your swards, you don’t need to spread as much chemical Nitrogen. Nutrient use efficiency and Nitrogen surplus are new terms being used on farms, and are part of the KPI’s now on farms.”

Congratulating the grassland farmers today, Professor Pat Dillon, Director of Research in Teagasc said, “You are all being recognised here today with these awards because of the exceptional job you are doing at home on your farms, in terms of growing and utilising grass in your production systems. This year’s awards place an increased focus on improving Nutrient Use Efficiency on grassland farms; and also the adoption of Clover in grassland swards.“

The judging panel for the Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year competition consisted of Liz Hyland DAFM, John Maher and Joseph Dunphy, Teagasc Grass10; John Farrell, AIB; Colin Heaney, FBD; John O’Loughlin, and David Corbett, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, and Declan Collins, Irish Farmers Journal.

(Source: Teagasc)