Awards for Top Grassland Farmers
The Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2022 is Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Cratloe, Co. Clare. The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards is now in its sixth year and rewards the top grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms in a sustainable manner.
The Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2022 is Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Cratloe, Co. Clare
The awards are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €25,000. The winners were announced today at the Teagasc Moorepark research centre, May 24th.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. congratulated all of the finalists in their achievements in grassland management. He said; “As finalists you are joining a group of top class grassland farmers, and I would particularly like to congratulate Diarmaid Fitzgerald 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 management of grass clover swards 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, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal. The Grass10 programme continues to focus on improving nutrient management and efficiency on farm and clover establishment and its management.
Dairy Enterprise Runner-up – Kyle Hanbidge, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow
Dairy Enterprise Runner-up – Alan Duggan, Foxford, Co. Mayo
Dairy Enterprise Runner-up – Jimmy Cotter, Coachford, Co. Cork
Drystock Enterprise Runner-up – Michael Cunniffe, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon
Young Farmer Category – Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Cratloe, Co. Clare
Mixed Soils Category – Michael Walsh, Ballinakill, Co. Laois
Clover/Sustainable Farming Category – John Casey, Causeway, Co. Kerry
Innovation in Grassland – Michael McGuigan, Longwood, Co. Meath
Enterprise Category Winners:
Drystock Category – Michael McGuigan, Longwood, Co. Meath
Dairy Category – David Gannon, Craughwell, Co. Galway
Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2022 –
Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Cratloe, Co. Clare
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 developing clover on the farm and protecting the environment. This was seen as important as grass production itself and it probably reflects the changing attitude among farmers in general. The fact that the average grass growth among the finalists was 13.5 t DM/ha just shows that you can be very efficient while also being very sustainable.”
The Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year, Diarmaid Fitzgerald said;
“Our thinking on clover and how we best manage it is constantly evolving. I keep a close eye on the latest research from Teagasc and tailor my fertiliser plans accordingly. Getting clover established across the farm has enabled me to substantially reduce chemical nitrogen use. I’m not seeing any impact on pasture growth, in fact some of my best paddocks are getting low levels of chemical nitrogen and the cows love them.”
Congratulating the finalists today, Liam Herlihy, Teagasc Chairman said: Very well done to all you, as exceptional farmers doing an excellent job and today is the day to acknowledge this. In relation to the Grass10 programme, the main focus is to challenge four main areas. These areas are specifically: Moving Grassland Knowledge out to the industry; Continuing to increase the usage of PastureBase Ireland; Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency on grassland farms; and in 2023 Increasing the emphasis and adoption of Clover in grassland swards.“
The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition consisted of John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Diarmuid Donnellan, AIB; John O’Loughlin, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal; Pat Gilligan, FBD; and Liz Hyland DAFM.