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Organic Dairy Farm Open Day on the banks of the River Barrow

Organic Dairy Farm Open Day on the banks of the River Barrow

Joe & Alicia Whitty have been farming organically for 14 years now, but the biggest change to their farming system came in 2015 when they converted their mixed beef/pigs and tillage operation to organic dairying. The Whitty family hold an organic farm walk on Wednesday November 3rd at 11am.

Joe Kelleher, Organic Specialist, Teagasc brings us this insight into the Whitty Farm:

The Whitty Family Farm Walk

The Whitty Family Farm Walk is the first of a series of 11 farm demonstration walks organised by Teagasc in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the remaining 10 walks will be held throughout 2022.

Situated on the banks of the Barrow, directly opposite the John F Kennedy ancestral home, the Whittys are milking 67 organic cows with all milk being supplied to Glenisk. Daughters Aoife, Niamh and Eimear all play an active role on the day to day farming activities, making this a real family farming effort.

Visitors on the day will hear from the Whittys about the changes they had to make when converting their farm firstly to organic and secondly to organic dairy. Sourcing cows, converting housing and sourcing an outlet for their milk were some of the challenges they overcame on their route to becoming organic dairy farmers.

Learn how they grow such a variety of crops and how they do this without the use of chemical fertilisers. The Whittys are huge believers in clover and Joe Whitty’s comment on white clovers encapsulates this belief “I love clover, clover is my friend I can’t see how you’d survive in organic farming without it”. The Whittys use numerous methods to get clover established on their farm and these techniques will be outlined on the day.

There is a great variety of crops grown on this farm including; permanent pasture, white clover swards, red clover swards, multi species swards, combi crops and spring oats. There is also 10 acres of a designated habitat and 5 acres of forestry on the farm. On the day of the walk the Whittys will go into detail as to how they grow and manage these crops on their farm and how they are reducing their reliance on imported feed by growing such crops.

Weed control on organic farms, in both new reseeds and in permanent pasture, requires a different approach and a different mind-set. Visitors will see how paddocks sown in September are performing and how the Whittys will address weed control in these paddocks. 

Multi species swards were sown on this farm for the first time in 2020 and have out-performed many of the grass/clover swards this year in terms of growth. The 2021 calves have been grazing these swards for most of the summer and have yet to receive a worm dose, a testimony to the anthelmintic properties of these swards.

The Whittys have been on a journey over the past number of years and if you are interested in becoming an organic farmer or feel there are elements of farming organically that could benefit your farm, then it will be well worth your while taking a trip to Wexford on November 3rd.

The event runs from 11am to 1pm and is open to all. While it is an organic event, this walk will be of interest to both organic and conventional farmers. As this is primarily an outdoor event, visitors are advised to dress accordingly. Looking forward to seeing you on the day. 


Find out more here about Organics