Ordinarily, the winner of the Grassland Farmer of The Year competition hosts an open day in late April.

The event is timed to coincide with the end of calving and before breeding and is at a time of the year when grassland management is critical, so visitors see at first-hand how the best farmers manage grass at the trickiest time of year.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19, that’s not possible this year, nor indeed was it possible last year.

Virtual event

To make up for it, Teagasc is organising a virtual event on the farm of Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 Caroline Walsh on Wednesday 21 April.

There will be social media posts on Twitter and Instagram throughout the day and a live interview with Caroline Walsh and her Teagasc adviser Mark Treacy at 7.30pm that evening.

Originally from Ballinadee near Bandon, Caroline is married to Joe, an agricultural contractor, and they have five children.

Her dairy career started in 2009 when she was awarded a new entrant milk quota and leased a farm to milk 40 cows.

They converted Joe’s home farm to dairy in 2014 and Caroline’s herd was moved there in 2015.

Her focus over the last few years has been on increasing the amount of grass grown on the farm and the quality of that grass.

She is focused on profit and has actually reduced cow numbers from a peak of 80 in 2018 to 64 cows for 2021, which will be a stocking rate of 3.2 cows/ha.

The live interview will be interspersed with videos of the farm and viewers will be able to ask questions.

Topics covered include breeding, soil fertility, sustainability, grassland management and grazing infrastructure.

The competition is part of the Grass10 programme which is sponsored by the Irish Farmers Journal, Teagasc, Department of Agriculture, FBD, Grassland Agro and AIB.

Register for the event on the Teagasc website.