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Caroline Walsh - Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020


Caroline Walsh is Overall Winner and Dairy Award Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 competition. Caroline farms in Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork milking about 70 cows on a 20 ha milking platform. The awards reward the country's top grassland farmers by category, enterprise and merit awards

Caroline Walsh - Overall Winner!

Caroline farms in Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork milking about 70 cows on a 20 ha milking platform. She is reducing cow numbers slightly and will be stocked at 3.2 LU/ha this year.

Caroline aims to make a similar profit level from the farm as less inputs are required. Heifers are contract reared and silage comes from outblocks. Caroline’s husband Joe along with his father and brother run a contracting business and they lend a hand during busy periods.  Caroline began measuring grass in 2015, and in 2020 her farm grew 14.2 T DM/ha (drought in June) with her cows producing 500 kg MS per cow (supplied to Lisavaird Coop) from 850 kg meal.

In 2019, the farm grew over 16 T DM/ha and achieved 10 grazings per paddock. She has invested heavily in grazing infrastructure so she can get cows out from early February to mid-November. Caroline is involved in her local Grass10 grazing course.

Find out what Caroline has to say below:

Category Winners:

  • Young Farmer Category – David O’Leary, Castleisland, Co. Kerry
  • Heavy Soils/Disadvantaged Land Category – Sean Barry, Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick
  • Sustainable Farming Category – John Galvin, Dunmanway, Co. Cork

Enterprise Category Winners:

  • Sheep Category – Peter McGuinness, Trim, Co. Meath
  • Dairy Category – Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork
  • Beef Production (non-suckling) Category– Pat Collins, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork
  • Suckler Beef Production Category– Thomas Hogan, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Grassland Merit Awards:

  • Most Improved Grassland – Noel Hurley, Kildorrery, Co. Cork
  • Most Improved Grassland – David Brady, Stradone, Co. Cavan
  • Sustainable Grassland – JP Hammersley, Lattin, Co. Tipperary

Finalists

  • Finalist: Shane Kinsella, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny   
  • Finalist: Niall Callanan, Craughwell, Co. Galway
  • Finalist: John O Connell, Rathduff, Co. Cork
  • Finalist: Graham Swanton, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
  • Finalist: James Hoey, Dunleer, Co. Louth

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 an online awards ceremony this afternoon, Tuesday, 19 January.

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 4 year phase of the programme has been completed and the second phase commences in 2021

More Details on all the Finalists, Category, Enterprise and Merit award winners can be found here  Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020