Launch of Growing Organics Monitor Farm Programme
The first of the Growing Organics Monitor Farm Programme walks is taking place on Friday, 2nd June at 12pm on the farm of Jason Stanley, Errill, Portlaoise, County Laois. Jason is farming with his wife Grace and their son Jacob along-side parents George & Shirley Stanley.
Launching the programme, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett said: “I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all those farmers who have been so generous in hosting organic farm walks over the past number of years, and I’m really looking forward to learning from our new monitor farmers over the course of this programme.”
Organic farm walks are an invaluable way for farmers to see for themselves the opportunities that exist by adapting their farming system to organic principles. Over the last 12 months we have heard more and more about biodiversity, clover, multispecies swards and soil and animal health, all of which are key elements of organic farming.
This programme of organic farm walks will further increase the level of knowledge and advice available to existing and new organic farmers, and I am looking forward to seeing farm families attend in big numbers.
According to Dr Stan Lalor, Director of the Teagasc Knowledge Transfer directorate, “Teagasc are delighted to be working with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and with the organic demonstration farmers on this joint programme. I especially want to thank all the farmers that will be involved in the Growing Organics programme, and in particular the Stanley family for hosting this event. This group of demonstration farmers are a vital part of the programme to act as information hubs for other farms to learn from and follow. They will work closely with our Teagasc organic specialist team and our team of organic advisors across our advisory regions”.
The farm comprises of 78 hectares of grass and tillage. The Stanleys converted to organic farming in 2011 and since then, they have built up the stocking rate of the farm and along with supplying oats to Flahavans and organic seed barley to Boortmalt, they have become entirely self-sufficient for their own feed requirements and don’t buy in any concentrate feeds for the sheep. The protein source for the sheep ration comes from the beans grown on the farm and Jason is “delighted that the beans have been able to replace the need to purchase organic soya bean meal”.
Soil fertility is very important to Jason, he takes soil samples every 2 to 3 years and maximises the organic manures produced on the farm by prioritising the fields that are most in need of it. He also imports dairy sludge from Tirlán in Ballyragget and spreads lime to keep the soil fertility of the farm maintained.
Growing of winter forage crops on the farm is an important source of feed and it especially helps to finish the later lambs over the winter period which allows him to have a steady supply of lambs for slaughter.
The topics that will be discussed on the farm walk are, Benefits of Forage Crops and Multi-species grasses, Growing organic tillage crops, Markets for organic produce, Organic system financials, Maintaining soil structure and fertility, Water quality, Health & Safety and the Organic bodies (IOA & Organic Trust), Bord Bia, DAFM and ICM of Camolin will be present on the day.
Find out more about the Growing Organics Farm Walk of Jason Stanley here