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Growing Organics

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Growing Organics is a programme focused on supporting and increasing organic production. The programme, led by Teagasc and supported by DAFM, promotes the adoption of best practice at farm level to increase the future viability and sustainability of the Irish organic sector. 

Upcoming farm walks  |  Previous farm walks

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. The results from the activities on the demonstration farms will be made available to all farmers and researchers to improve the data available on different aspects of organic farming.

These organic demonstration farms will focus on:

  • grassland management
  • livestock nutrition
  • animal health and welfare
  • financial management
  • environmental sustainability
  • crop management


Upcoming Growing Organics Farm Walks

Click on the links below to find out more about the upcoming Growing Organics Farm Walks


John O'Hanlon, Ballymahon, Co. Longford

Tuesday, 24th September | 2pm

Join us on Tuesday, 24th September at 2pm for a Growing Organics Farm Walk - Suckler to Store on the farm of John O'Hanlon, Tipper, Ballymahon, Co. Longford. Eircode: N39 K0Y8.

Click here to register! 

About the farm

John O’Hanlon and his family run and organic suckler to store enterprise in Ballymahon, Co. Longford. The farm is currently in year 2 of organic conversion and comprises of 31ha of grassland and 6ha of forestry. John’s main aim after joining organics was to make a genuine attempt at running an efficient and profitable organic suckler enterprise on mixed quality land whilst working full time off farm.

The suckler enterprise comprises of 30 Limousin, Simmental and Hereford cross cows which run with a Charolais bull. The offspring are gradually sold at 15/16 months of age to give cash flow over the summer months.

Some of the changes John has carried out since joining organics involved changing his winter housing to meet the organic standards, some reseeding of old swards with ryegrass and white clover, creating additional paddocks and establishing a red clover silage sward. A lot of work has also been carried out to address soil fertility with liming being the first priority. John has always tried to make high quality silage each year so as to minimise the need for expensive organic ration.


Previous Growing Organics Farm Walks 

2024

Sheep & Tillage: Joe Nolan, Kilconnor, Fenagh, Co. Carlow

Joe Nolan is farming in Kilconnor, Fenagh, Co. Carlow along with his wife Clair and their son Ciaran. Joe began his conversion to organic farming in March 2022 and has reached full organic status in March 2024. The farm which is 98ha comprises of a mix of tillage and sheep production with 32.27ha in tillage and 65.7ha in grass/red clover/multispecies.

The sheep enterprise consists of approximately 550 ewes which lamb outdoors in March and April. The main breeds of sheep on the farm are Mule/Lleyn/Belclare/Highlander X ewes. Along with the main flock, Joe also has a pedigree flock of Charollais on the farm and sells grass fed hogget rams from this pedigree flock.

Joe makes red clover and arable silage to meet his winter feeding requirement along with growing Oats and Combi-crops. No concentrate feed is purchased for his flock. Joe has expanded his tillage enterprise since his conversion to organics. He now grows oats for Whites Oats, Armagh and is also growing feed crops for other organic farmers and is very interested in building up farm to farm trading relationships.

A 'Growing Organics' farm walk was held on the farm on Wednesday, 17 July 2024.


Dairy & Tillage: Bill George, Arles, Co. Laois

Bill George is farming Coolanowle Organic Farm in Arles, Co. Laois. This farm began its’ conversion to organic farming in 2001 by Bills father in-law Jimmy Mulhall and has full organic status since 2003. Bill is leasing the farm on a long-term lease since 2016 and the main enterprise on the farm of 118 ha’s is dairying with a mix of tillage crops which are used for growing feed for the dairy herd.

A 'Growing Organics' farm walk was held on the farm on Wednesday, 1st May 2024. The booklet from the farm walk is available to download below.


Suckler Beef, Sheep & Tillage: John Hamilton, Tonyhabboc, Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal

John Hamilton runs a mixed farming enterprise, with a mix of Sucklers, Mid-season lambing flock of ewes and a Tillage enterprise. There is a herd of 20 suckler cows on the farm with all cattle brought through to finish and sold to Goodherdsman. The sheep flock consists of 50 ewes with a scanning rate of approximately 1.8 lambs per ewe. All lambs are finished on farm. The tillage enterprise consists of mixed cropping/combi crop, arable silage and also a pea bean mix which is being trialled on the farm for 2024.

A 'Growing Organics' farm walk was held on the farm on Thursday, 27th June. The booklet from the farm walk is available to download below.


2023

Sheep & Cereals: Jason Stanley, Co. Laois

The first in a series of 'Growing Organics' farm walks took place on the farm of Jason Stanley, Errill, Co. Laois on Friday, 2 June 2023. Jason converted to organic farming in 2011 and full organic status was achieved in May 2013.


Suckler Finishing: Oliver and Anna Dixon, Co. Mayo

The Dixons began looking at organic farming, as an option in 2010. The high costs associated with conventional farming had become prohibitive. After careful consideration, the decision was made to take the organic option. In 2010, the farm entered conversion to organic production and full organic status was achieved in May 2012.


Suckler Beef: Thomas and Noreen Kavanagh, Co. Kerry

Thomas and Noreen Kavanagh joined the Growing Organics Monitor Farm Programme in 2023. The farm has recently converted from store beef production to a suckling system. The Kavanaghs both feel that this system can work well within the organic system, using grass and the excellent housing present to drive a high level of sustainable production.


Sucklers: Eanna Canavan, Doolin, Co. Clare

Eanna farms 41 ha of grassland and 4.73ha of forestry. Eanna has been farming organically since entering conversion in 2018. On the farm there is a suckler enterprise of 15 spring calving suckler cows. The
majority of the weanlings are sold in the autumn, with a few of the best heifers kept as replacements.

A 'Growing Organics'  farm walk was held on his farm on Thursday October 19th 2023. The booklet from the farm walk is available to download below.