The overall winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year Award in 2019 is Bryan Daniels from Kilkenny. The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards has an overall prize fund of €30,000 kindly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is now in its third year and rewards those farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation on their farms.
Thirteen farmer finalists travelled to Teagasc Moorepark today, Friday, 13 December for the awards presentation. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said: Congratulations to the 13 finalists here today, they are all leading grassland farmers, who are demonstrating what can be achieved with high levels of grassland management. As we all know grassland is a key resource for the ruminant sector and these finalists are vital to the wider industry to showcase what can be achieved sustainability inside the farm gate’’.
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.
Finalist: Owen Brodie
Finalist: Thomas Holmes
Finalist: Conor Kelleher
Enterprise Winner – Cattle (Suckling) Category: Trevor Boland
Enterprise Winner – Cattle (Non-Suckling) Category: Philip How
Enterprise Winner – Sheep Category: John O’Connell
Enterprise Winner – Dairy Category: Michael Bermingham
Grassland Merit Awards
Grassland Merit Award – Grass Production: Michael Magan
Grassland Merit Award – Most Improved Grassland: John O’Sullivan
Grassland Merit Award – Grazing Infrastructure: William Dennehy
Sustainable Farming – Category Winner: Bryan Daniels
Disadvantaged Land – Category Winner: Paudie O’Brien
Young Farmer – Category Winner: John Trant
Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “This competition is now gaining considerable momentum, it provides a huge stimulus for farmers to improve their grassland management practise, whether it is improving grassland measurement, soil fertility or grazing infrastructure. These farmers will show us all the potential that can be achieved from managing grass to high levels.”
Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Aidan Brennan Irish farmers Journal said: “The standard of the finalists as ever was exceptional, their average grass production was 15.1t DM/ha, they completed >40 farm cover measurements and achieved >1ton of animal output (either milk solids or carcase/ha). I would encourage all farmers to attend the farm walks scheduled for these farms in 2020, some are farming on challenging soil types but are achieving outstanding results”. Aidan added that the standard continues to grow with over 150 farmers entering the competition again this year.
Padraig Walsh, dairy farmer, FBD sponsor representative 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 is challenges ahead for all grassland farmers, inside and outside the farmgate, however if we need to continue our firm focus on increasing grass utilisation across the enterprises. We need as an industry to promote our sustainable grass based systems and high quality food product’s, this competition is all part of increasing our grass based capability”.
The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition consisted of John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Bryan Doocey, AIB; P J O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal; and David Cummins DAFM.