Growing Organics Farm Walk - Jason Stanley2 June 2023 2 June 2023
Venue Errill, Co. Laois. Eircode: R32 K352
What's happening at the farm walk?
The Organic Farm Walk will be opened with a welcome address from Minister Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity and Stan Lalor, Director of KT, Teagasc.
Following on from that you will have the opportunity to listen to a number of talks on various topics such as:
Speaker to be confirmed
- Growing an Organic Forage Crop
Dr. Frank Campion, Teagasc BETTER Sheep Advisor
- Soil Health
Cathal Somers, Teagasc ASSAP Advisor, Kilkenny
- Water Quality
Fiona Doolan, Teagasc ASSAP Advisor, Kildare
- Health & Safety
Francis Bligh, Teagasc Safety Specialist
- Future Organic Markets
Emmett Doyle, Bord Bia
- Growing Tillage Crops Organically
Martin Bourke, Teagasc Organic Tillage Specialist
- Multi Species Swards
Dr. Philip Creighton, Teagasc Sheep Enterprise Leader, Athenry
Attendees will also have the opportunityto meet stakeholders in a village with representatives from the Irish Organic Association, Organic Trust, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Agricultural Consultants Association, Bord Bia, Irish Country Meats, Teagasc and more...
About the 'Growing Organics' programme
The ‘Growing Organics’ Programme is a five year programme led by Teagasc, and will promote the adoption of best practice at farm level to increase the future viability and sustainability of the Irish organic sector. The results from the activities on the demonstration farms will be made available to all farmers and researchers to significantly improve the data available on different aspects of organic farming.
Organic demonstration farms have been selected throughout the country to illustrate best practice and monitor key financial and environmental metrics. Providing up to date technical advice to organic farmers is a key objective of the National Organic Strategy 2019-2025.
Find out more about the Growing Organics programme here
About Jason Stanley's Farm
Jason Stanley is farming in Castleflemming, Errill, Co. Laois. He converted to organic farming in 2011 and full organic status was achieved in May 2013. The farm which is 78 ha’s comprises of a mix of Tillage and sheep production with half the farm dedicated to crop production and half is in grass for the sheep flock.
The sheep enterprise consists of 400 ewes lambing in early March. The stocking rate on the farm is 11.25 ewes/ha. All ewes are housed mid-late November in two large straw bedded sheds and let out to grass as they lamb. The main breeds of sheep on the farm are Belclare X Suffolk New Zealand. The rams used are Belclare & Charollais. The rams are introduced to the flock around the 10th October and left with them for 6 weeks. Ewes are lambed indoors and let out to grass as they lamb. Lambs are grazed on Multi Species Grasses (MSS), white clover and red clover grass swards. They are mostly finishing off grass and Jason finds the “red clover grass is excellent for lamb weight gains. The MSS is also an excellent forage for the lambs and particularly in a dry period it is the only grass that continues to grow”.
The target weights for slaughter are 38 – 44 Kgs and the first batch are usually ready in July. Jason is a member of the Laois/Offaly Producers Group. All finished lambs are sold to I.C.M in Camolin, Co Wexford. The later lambs are finished on forage crops of Fodder Rape along with red clover silage, oats and potatoes.
Ewes are fed for 8 weeks prior to lambing and the diet consists of red clover silage, oats & beans and is tailored to single/twin/triplet bearing ewes. This Total Mixed Ration (TMR) is fed with a Diet Feeder which Jason has found to be a huge benefit in terms of “creating a more efficient diet for the ewes, saving on feeding time and helps in terms of safety as there is no need to enter pens with feed and risk being knocked over”.
Jason makes red clover and MSS silage and also buys in red clover silage from another organic farmer to meet his winter feeding requirement along with the oats, beans and the forage crop that are all grown on the farm. No concentrate feed is purchased for his flock.
All the straw used for bedding is produced on the farm and is a very valuable source of fertiliser for the farm along with organic Dairy Sludge from Glanbia which is imported and spread in April and May each year. Slurry is also imported if available to maintain soil fertility on the farm.
With regard to flock health, faecal analyses are taken to assess the level and identify the type of internal parasites if present and if necessary an appropriate anthelminthic is used. The withdrawal periods are doubled and sometimes trebled so care is needed with applications for future slaughter dates. Mostly Jason finds that he only needs to dose in a very wet year and he gives only cobalt to the lambs. He gets permission from his Organic Body to vaccinate against clostridial diseases each year as this has been identified along with the vet as a health risk for his flock. Otherwise Jason is very happy that there is very little veterinary interventions required. He also finds that using the TMR feeding system has significantly decreased the incidence of pro-lapse in the flock.