At an awards competition at Ballyhaise Agriculture College on Thursday, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced Longford dairy farmer Patrick O’Neill as the overall winner of the Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year for 2023.

A carpenter by trade, Patrick O’Neill spent a few years working in New Zealand before returning home to farm in partnership with his father in 2013.

The pair milk 120 cows on a 60ha block of mixed soil types near Mostrim, Co Longford. In 2023, the farm grew over 11t DM/ha of grass, which is back on previous years as a result of all the rain.


The judges were very impressed with the level of clover across the farm, with 45% to 50% of the farm with medium to high clover content.

Patrick has reduced the amount of chemical nitrogen being applied across the farm, with 149kg N/ha spread in 2023.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, O’Neill said that it was an honour to receive the award after such a difficult period to be a farmer with severe weather challenges in autumn and spring.

Other award winners include:

  • Joint nutrient management winners: Killian Brennan, Co Cavan, and Michael Carroll, Co Limerick.
  • Drystock: Billy Gilmore, Co Galway.
  • Young farmer: Evan Hunt, Co Sligo.
  • Organic: Kevin O’Hanlon, Co Wexford.