Teagasc organics advisors organise a number of activities and events throughout the year. These include farm walks in association with Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and organic organisations. 25 hour training courses open days and webinars. Details of these events are outlined below.
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.
See dates and venues below
Wednesday, 12 July | 2pm
On the farm of Oliver and Anna Dixon, Athena Organic Farm, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Eircode: F12 VX29.
Oliver and Anna converted to organic in 2010 and attained full organic status in May 2012. The entirely grassland farm of 44 hectares, runs a late spring calving suckler herd, and finishes all stock off red clover silage alone. The farm consists of 44Ha of grassland of which 4.5 hectares is sown to red clover. The farm carries a 15 cow suckler herd finishing all progeny of red clover silage with no concentrates given, at 24-32 months.
Topics and speakers on the day include:
- Introduction to the farm; financials and farm performance
Oliver & Anna Dixon
- Growing and managing Red Clover silage to maximise returns/animal performance
Nicky Byrne, Teagasc Grange and Chris Daly, ICBF
- Managing soil nutrients and management of FYM
Mark Plunkett, Teagasc Soil Specialist, Johnstown Castle
- TAMS grants for safety on farm
Francis Bligh, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist
Behaviour change, mindfulness and farmer wellbeing
Professor Louise McHugh, University College Dublin
Oliver & Anna Dixon, Host farmers
Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet stakeholders in a village with representatives from Organic Trust, Irish Organic Association, Social Farming Ireland, Bord Bia, ASSAP Advisors; Signpost Advisor.
Friday, 2 June | 12pm
Sheep & Cereals
On the farm of Jason Stanley, Errill, Co. Laois.
View the booklet from the event here
Teagasc invite all farmers and members of the public to see organic farming in practice and to meet and speak with the producers and sector’s experts.
See dates and venues below
Tuesday, 18 July | 2pm
Suckler Beef and Tillage
On the farm of Con & James Lucey, Ballincurrig, Killavullen, Mallow, Co. Cork. Eircode: P51 R962.
Previous Farm Walks
Thursday, 8 June | 2pm
On the farm of Micheal Holmes, Newfield, Mulranny, Westport, Co. Mayo.
Tuesday, 27 June | 2pm
Tillage and Horticulture
On the farm of Donal Logue, Muff, Co. Donegal.
Wednesday, 28 June | 11am
Beef - store to finish & Cereals
On the farm of Mark & Grainne Duffy, Bellview, Clogher, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan.
Thursday, 6 July | 11am
With farm manager Kevin O'Hanlon on the farm of Marie Pascale Pollard, Ballywilliam, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.
Watch back previous webinars below
Wednesday, 8th February - Converting beef housing to meet organic standards
On this episode of Let's Talk Organics, Elaine Leavy, Joe Kelleher and Martin Bourke, Teagasc Organic Specialists discussed converting beef housing to meet organic standards. The team were joined by Fergus Hanly, Co. Limerick and Tadhg Halpin, Co. Clare who shared their experiences of converting beef housing to meet organic standards. A questions and answers session took place at the end of the webinar.
Father and daughter partnership, Tadhg & Claire Halpin farm 70Ha of free draining land in Toonagh, Tulla, in East Clare. In November 2022 they submitted an application to join the Organic Farming Scheme. The Halpins always had an interest in farming organically and with some encouragement from their local Teagasc advisor, Conor O’Reilly, they decided that organic farming was very compatible with their existing farming system.
Fergus Hanly farms 30Ha of free draining land on the banks of the river Deel just before it flows into the Shannon estuary. Fergus converted his farm to organic approximately 12 years ago. He operates a weanling to finishing beef system where he buys in approximately 35 weanlings in October/November and keeps them for 12 months, when they are sold off grass.
Watch webinar recording below
Wednesday, 8th March - Feeding the ewe pre and post lambing in an organic situation
Elaine Leavy and Joe Kelleher, Teagasc Organics Specialists hosted a Let's Talk Organics webinar on Wednesday, 8th March which focused on feeding the ewe pre and post lambing in an organic situation.
The team were joined by Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer; Cathal McCauley, Teagasc Organics Advisor; and Organic Sheep Farmers Amy Jackson & Barry O’Hagan.
Michael Gottstein discussed feeding the ewe pre-lambing; Cathal McCauley outlined organic minerals and regulations around veterinary; and Amy Jackson & Barry O’Hagan gave an insight into feeding the ewe pre and post lambing on their organic farms.
Watch webinar recording below
About Amy Jackson & Barry O'Hagan
Amy Jackson farmers in partnership with her husband Ross on their 50.5Ha sheep and tillage farm in North Tipperary. They keep approx. 150 ewes that lamb in March/early April each year with many of their lambs sold direct to customers under their brand “Lacka organic lamb”. Ewes have scanned at 1.68 lambs/ewe this year. Breeds include mainly Texel crosses, Charollais crosses, New Zealand Suffolk, Belclares, and Rouge. All ewes and lambs are out-wintered on cover crops and multi species swards until February before housing. They are farming organically since 2015.
Barry O’Hagan is farming 56 Ha of heavy clay and peat soils including some commonage in North Leitrim. He runs approx. 158 ewes which are predominantly Lanark Blackface Horned sheep. The ewe lambs have been typically sold as breeding ewe lambs through a producer group and ram lambs have been finished on farm. The ewes are fed for 6-8 weeks pre lambing depending on the scanning rate. Barry entered organics on the 1st of January 2023 and is currently in conversion.
Wednesday, 5th April - Growing red clover silage to finish beef cattle
Elaine Leavy and Joe Kelleher, Teagasc Organic Specialists hosted a Let's Talk Organics webinar on Wednesday, 5th April which focused on growing red clover silage to finish beef cattle. The team were joined by Dr Nicky Byrne, Teagasc Researcher and organic farmers, Colman Deely, West Limerick dairy farmer and Oliver Dixon, Mayo beef finisher farmer.
Nicky spoke about the agronomy and feeding value of red clover silage. Colman and Oliver gave an insight into how they grow red clover crops on their farms and how they are finding it helps with the performance of their animals. The webinar gave an overview of the practical aspects of growing, harvesting and feeding a red clover silage crop.
Watch webinar recording below
Teagasc, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) jointly organised a National Organic Beef Open Day on the farm of John Purcell, Ross, Golden, Cashel, Co. Tipperary on Wednesday, 28th September 2022.
The open day was aimed at providing up to date best practice for existing organic farmers and also will aim at providing an insight into organic farming methods for those farmers contemplating converting their farms.
John took over the running of the farm from his late father Michael Purcell in 1997. The farm had always been associated with a livestock enterprise and in 1998, John converted the farm to organic and continued with the beef model. The overall farm operation of 950 acres consists of owned and leased land and all together produces over 1000 finished beef cattle per annum for the market.
The farm walk is on a block of 500 acres. The farm produces most of the winter feed for the operation and houses 600 cattle during the winter months. Combination crops and clover grass swards are grown as part of the winter-feeding system. John’s farm does not exclusively focus on beef production, he also has incorporated biodiversity corridors/habitats. He has also planted over 10,000 trees in the last three years to sequester carbon and is planning to claim carbon natural status by 2025.
Tuesday, 19th July | 2pm
Fieldscale Vegetables, Protected Cropping, Cereals, Poultry-eggs, Direct Selling
On the farm of Rose O Sullivan & Martin Fox, Spring Cottage Organic Farm, Parke, Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. Eircode: N91 XFW3. Click here for direction
Wednesday, 13th July | 2pm
Cereals and Poultry-eggs
On the farm of Declan Houlihan, Corrigeen Organic Farm, Rathcabin, Birr, Co. Offaly. Eircode: R42 C854. Click here for directions
Wednesday, 6th July | 2pm
On the farm of Gavin Tully, Clonhenritte, Camolin, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. Eircode: Y21 H2R6 Click here for directions
Wednesday, 29th June | 2pm
Poultry-eggs, Cereals, Beef Finishing
On the farm of Mark & Grainne Duffy, Clogher, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan. Eircode: A75 Y421. Click here for directions
Wednesday, 22nd June | 2pm
Beef and Direct Selling
On the farm of Clive Bright, Ardsallagh, Ballymote, Co. Sligo.
Wednesday, 15th June | 2pm
Suckler to Beef and Cereals
On the farm of Donal & Frederique Keane, Camelton Stud, Summerhill, Co. Meath. Eircode: A83 TR83.
Wednesday, 8th June | 2pm
Sheep, Cereals, Beef Finishing
On the farm of Fergal Byrne, Calverstown Little, Dunlavin, Co. Kildare. Eircode: W91 X8F5.
Wednesday, 1st June | 2pm
Suckler to Weanling and Sheep
On the farm of John Hurley, Castle Hill House, Knockalaughta, Ballintubber, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon. Eircode: F45 FT65.
Wednesday, 11th May | 12pm
Cereals and Milling flour
On the farm of Andrew & Leonie Workman, Dunany Flour Organic, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
Wednesday, 20th April | 12pm
Cereals and Sheep
On the farm of Ross & Amy Jackson, Lacka, Carrig, Birr, Co. Tipperary.
Wednesday, 30th March | 12pm
Hill Sheep, Agri - Tourism
On the farm of Brigid O'Connor, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
Wednesday, 2nd March | 12pm
Organic Dairy Farm Walk
On the farm of Seamus Howard, Ennis, Co. Clare.
The next course will take place from February 22nd to March 8th. More information on the course and how to register is available here