Welcome to the first edition of Irish Farmers Journal Junior. My name is Stella McGirl and I am a beef farmer in the land of the three-legged stool, no matter how uneven the ground, we sit upright. That’s Leitrim for the uninitiated.

I was really happy to be asked to be the first guest editor to feature in this supplement written specifically for us and by us. By us, I mean young Irish farmers.

So, a little about me. I am 13 years old and I have just gotten my summer holidays from school, which means that I will get to spend more time on the farm. I also help on my friend’s sheep farm down the road.

Dad and I keep a herd of commercial cows. I have two pedigree cows myself. We bought our first pedigree heifer after the Christmas Cracker in Carrick-on-Shannon 2020.

The heifer was named Peaches and came from a famous herd you might know from social media – Kilsunny.

In February, before another sale in the Midland and Western Mart, we bought Tara. She came from just down the road from the farm of our neighbour Sean Scollan in Kiltubrid, Co Leitrim. Last week, we were off to put peaches in calf to Farghal, a famous bull with quality in all of his calves.

During the winter I was joining Zooms and calls with the young Irish Hereford Society to get to know about the Hereford breed as well.

Like the other young breeders featured on page 22, I was looking forward to shows for the coming summer but hopefully 2022 will see everything back to normal.

I was disappointed particularly that the Ploughing was cancelled and especially the Ballinamore Agricultural Show. I won many a prize in the marquee during the Ballinamore Family Festival.

With a bit of luck we’ll be back soon, but we have silage to make in the meantime so I’ll be kept busy!

On pages 20-21 we have a rundown on the biggest machines working in Ireland at the moment. We are a bit off that on our farm but we are all set for silage 2021 with our purchase of an Ardrum, a classic Ford 6810, from our other neighbours the Quinns. We were on the hunt for a safe, manual tractor with no electrics for months, and then we saw the 6810 just beside us. So getting used to her is next on the agenda for Dad and me in a few months’ time.

The old classics are definitely more reliable and give less trouble whereas the newer tractors with the electric gearboxes give you a few years and then the trouble starts, in my opinion, but with an old Ford or a Massey Ferguson, even with a cold start they will fly it!

Enjoy Irish Farmers Journal Junior, and thanks for reading.