A total of 28 farms from across the country were selected as finalists for the competition, from which eight producers were awarded as winners of their particular category.
As part of its Quality Assurance scheme, Bord Bia conducts audits and carbon assessments each year on almost 60,000 beef and dairy farms. This is called its Origin Green programme.
According to the organisation, the winning and shortlisted entries for the awards are among the top-performing beef and dairy farms in the country, particularly with regard to their carbon footprint, biodiversity and water management.
Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter said: “Tonight we celebrate Irish farmers as champions of sustainable, quality-assured and world-class food production.
That sense of leadership is what will help us win in the marketplace
“Each of the 28 finalists is here on the strength, firstly, of the outstanding scores they achieved in their farm audits and, secondly, the truly impressive commitment they have shown to sustainability in their farming activities.
“That sense of leadership is what will help us win in the marketplace, is what brings us here tonight and makes this an opportune time to celebrate what is best in Irish farming.”Suckler to beef category: Alfie Kirwan’s suckler herd near Killimor, Co Galway, has one of the highest calving rates in the country and is now converting to organic production, encouraged by demand for this premium niche market.Suckler to weanling/store category: Neville Myles, from Ballyshannon in Co Donegal, who runs a 70-cow suckler herd, was recognised for his quality breeding and grassland management that produces high-performing weanlings.Weanling/store to beef category: Kieran Dooley, along with his brother Brian and son Joe, farms in Tullamore. They specialise in the intensive finishing of well-bred continental young bulls and heifers, and have a keen focus on market demand.Dairy calf to beef category: Brothers Pat and Tom Redmond operate a significant calf to beef enterprise in Gorey, Co Wexford. Production is coordinated so as to finish 10 high-quality Angus-cross heifers per week, to supply beef to the family’s two hotels in Gorey.
Small/medium herd category: According to the judges, John Joe and Theresa O’Sullivan’s dairy farm in Rosscarbery, Co Cork, supplying Lisavaird Co-op, is a hive of productivity. They milk 70 cows on 45ha, with cows grazing over 300 days a year every year. Biodiversity was noted to be a key feature on this excellent dairy farm with a habitat, some woodland, an ancient fort and an orchard where John Joe practises his hobby of beekeeping.Liquid/winter milk category: Dermot Sherry, Drumhillock, Co Monaghan, uses grass measurement and management to improve productivity on his farm. Supplying LacPatrick Co-op, cow numbers this year reached a peak of 118, up from 70 just a few years ago.Carbon footprint reduction category: Patrick Brennan, a farmer outside Ballingarry, Co Tipperary, who milks more than 170 cows and supplies Arrabawn Co-op, has made small changes resulting in large efficiency gains. Patrick’s attention to detail and tweaks to his system have resulted in a reduction of the carbon footprint of this farm.Large herd category: The judges were particularly impressed by John Hannigan from Dromcollogher, Co Limerick, who supplies Kerry Co-op. He has focused on breeding to build a solid foundation for his farm of more than 110 Friesian cows.
Over the past few weeks, a panel of judges representing Bord Bia and Teagasc visited each of the 28 shortlisted farms. The judges were impressed by how each of the finalists have achieved a standard that allows them to maximise production while minimising impact on the environment and other resources.
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