I farm: “Roughly 60ac of fragmented farmland alongside my partner Martin. The land would be mixed, with some very heavy peat soils and free-draining lowland.”

Working off-farm: “My partner Martin works for a local contractor and I work in the evening in the local shop, Feeney’s Spar, so we can balance the farm work between us. If you’re a small farmer in the west, you need an off-farm income to keep everything going, but it’s a nice way of life.”

The home place: “My sister and myself always loved the family farm growing up, but there was never any question that my brother would inherit the farm. It is mountain land and we’re all still very close and go up to help bring in sheep or do jobs.”

Stock: “We’ve built a herd of cows here up to 15 and split calving between autumn and spring. We use AI and favour Charolais or Limousin.”

Diversifying: “With suckler farming, you’re lucky if you breakeven at the end of a year, so we diversified into sheep and have about 25 Mules and use a Texel ram. It means we have money coming at different times of the year.”

Prices: “Last year was tough for prices. The lambs averaged €15 less than the year before and the cattle were down at least €120 per head.”

Selling: “We hold the weanlings until they’re a year old and sell them if prices are good or finish them ourselves. We usually sell lambs in Ballina Mart, but keep our own replacement heifers or lambs.”

This week: “Lambing will really kick off this week. We held 20 of the strongest ewe lambs last year and have them lambing at the same time as older ewes.”

Quotable quote: “I was born on a farm and reared on a farm and maybe I’m a fool for it, but it’s just in my blood.”

Just under 12% of farmers in Ireland are women – one of the lowest rates of any EU country. International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March.

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