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2016/2017 Organic Demonstration Farm Walks Announced

A nationwide series of twelve organic demonstration farm walks to showcase successful organic operators will commence on 10th October 2016. These farm walks offer farmers the opportunity to learn first-hand about the practicalities of organic farming. Organised by Teagasc, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, the first walk in this year’s series will take place on the farm of Oliver Kelly Ballinroan, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow on Monday, 10th October at 2pm.

Elaine Leavy, Teagasc Organic Specialist, said; “the farm walk programme provides a great opportunity for conventional farmers to see the developments taking place on organic farms. For organic farmers it allows for the sharing of information and experiences between producers. The series of farm walks are spread over a ten month period and are seasonally topical, which will give people the opportunity to see a wide range of organic farming practices”.

At each of the farm walks, the host farmer, along with representatives from Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Organic Certification Bodies, will be on hand to answer questions. Teagasc has incorporated specific themes into the farm walks such as grassland management and crop rotations. Farmers and their families, along with members of the public are welcome to attend.

Irish organic food enjoys an excellent reputation both at home and especially across Europe. Latest figures show the organic retail food market in Ireland is now worth over €136million annually (Source Bord Bia). In the European Union, the market for organic food is worth €24billion (2014), a doubling in size over the last 10 years. Demand for organic Irish beef is on the rise particularly in Europe. At farm level in Ireland, the organic sector has experienced a large influx of new farmers in recent years with 1,800 farmers now farming organically including approximately 600 who entered conversion in 2015. About 70% of organic farmers in Ireland are cattle farmers.

Teagasc Organic Farming - ‘Guidelines for Successful Organic Beef Production’ publication

Teagasc has launched a publication called ‘Guidelines for Successful Organic Beef Production’. This comprehensive technical booklet authored by Teagasc researchers, specialists and advisors, focuses on farm management practices that need to be part of a successful organic beef production system. Topics such as nutrient management on organic cattle farms, and red clover-agronomy and management, are covered in the publication. 

Speaking at the launch of the publication, Dan Clavin, Organic Specialist with Teagasc said; “Making the most of the land while farming to organic standards can be a challenge as there are few quick fix solutions in organic farming,  but with the right skills and knowledge it is possible to be productive and increase profitability.  This booklet is essential reading both for organic cattle farmers and for those taking a serious look at making the switch over to organic cattle production”.