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Awards for Top Grassland Farmers

The Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 is Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork. 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 Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 is Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork.

Speaking at the online awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. congratulated the achievements in grassland management of all of the 15 finalists. He said: “As finalists you are joining a group of top class grassland farmers, and I would particularly like to congratulate Caroline Walsh on winning the overall Grassland Farmer of the Year Award. It’s an achievement you can be really proud of. It is clear that initiatives such as Grass10 and the Grassland Farmer of the Year are to the fore in helping farmers achieve the most they can from the natural resource they have on their farm, which is grass. Good grassland management is essential in meeting the targets set down in the AgClimatise Strategy.”

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


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

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

Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 -

Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork

Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Aidan Brennan Irish farmers Journal said: “One thing that stood out for the judges this year was a notable shift in attitude towards protecting the environment. This was seen as important as grass production itself and it probably reflects the changing attitude among farmers in general. There was a massive uptake of low emission slurry spreading and protected urea among the contestants. The fact that the average grass growth among the finalists was 14.5 tonnes of Dry Matter per hectare, just shows that you can be very efficient while also being very sustainable.”

Padraig Walsh, dairy farmer, 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 are challenges ahead for all grassland farmers, inside and outside the farm gate, however, the farmers who have participated in the Grass 10 grass groups have improved their grassland management decision making. Increasing grass utilisation is one of the most important improvements that can be made across all enterprises. We need to continue the focus on grass utilisation, which will increase our own feed resources inside the farm gate.”

Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “Very well done to all the people who were finalists today. You are all exceptional farmers doing an excellent job and today is a day to acknowledge this. I congratulate Caroline Walsh on being the overall Grassland Farmer of the year.  In relation to the Grass 10 programme, I am delighted to announce that we are now moving on to Phase II. The main focus in phase II, is to challenge four main areas for the next four years. These areas are specifically; Moving Grassland Knowledge out to the industry; Continuing to increase the usage of Pasture base Ireland; Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency on grassland farms and in 2021 and Increasing the emphasis and adoption of White Clover in grassland swards. “

The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition were John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Liz Hyland DAFM, Bryan Doocey, AIB; P J O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal; and Ciaran Roche FBD Insurance.  

See further information on all finalists Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020

Grass10 Report 2017 - 2020