Nigel Wood is a student and passionate young farmer from Crossmolina, Co Mayo. Nigel is a boarder in the Grammar School in Sligo and loves coming home at the weekends and on school holidays to help his father Alan, mother Vivienne, younger brother Niall and good friend Michael on the farm. He is a TY student and hopes to become a vet afterwards.

The Wood family converted from sucklers to dairying three years ago and still run a pedigree Charolais herd under the Crossmolina Charolais prefix.

Alan and Nigel Wood with Crossmolina Harry, the Champion Junior Bull, at the Charolais show and sale in Tullamore in 2012.

Nigel is clearly passionate about all things farming and has a real grá, particularly, for the Charolais.

Nigel loves rugby and plays on the school team and has played with the Ballina Rugby Club since his debut at under 6 level almost 10 years ago where he plays the position of hooker.

He also enjoys mountain biking with friends and fly fishing, a hobby that started with his grandad a long time ago.


When I sat down with Nigel to have a chat, he told me that his favourite part of farming was going to summer shows. “I just love shows, I have been going with dad since I was a baby and just always loved it. I love seeing other people’s stock and talking to people about breeding, feeding and the bloodlines.

“My first time showing was probably in 2012 at the National Charolais Show and I was bitten by the show bug. I was only four years old then.” That day, the Wood family won a red rosette with Crossmolina Harry.

“I was always beside dad in the show ring,” Nigel adds. “We go to a lot of shows during the summer: Bonniconlon, Enniscrone, Crossmolina, Sligo, Grange, Tullamore, the National show and we usually start training them in April.”

Nigel also loves pedigree shows and sales and adds jokingly, “I love the shows and maybe even prefer the sales because you can see the money rolling in.”

All Ireland Young Stockperson Finals

Nigel won the Intermediate FBD, Irish Farmers Journal and Irish Shows Association All-Ireland Young Stockperson finals back in August of this year after qualifying at Enniscrone show earlier in the summer. He describes the finals as his favourite showing memory so far.

Nigel Wood on his home farm in Crossmolina, Co Mayo. /Shanon Kinahan

“Ah my favourite memory was winning the All-Irelands in Cappamore with my own heifer, Crossmolina Trixie.

“The competition was very well done but it was so nerve wrecking. The whole day was building up to the last half hour and I really didn’t think I was going to place at all - it was such a crazy feeling when I was tapped out.”

Nigel’s father, Alan, tells Irish Farmers Journal Junior, “We were so proud of Nigel that day. He trained the heifer himself and sure it was a great achievement for him.”

On farm, Nigel loves feeding cattle, seeing their progress, and watching them grow and develop.

The future is bright

Nigel fell in love with the Charolais breed and says, “I would love to continue on with the Charolais. I’m very attached to the pedigrees and I really like commercial Charolais, too. If I couldn’t study veterinary in Ireland I’d probably just farm full time.

“I would love to judge at shows and sales when I’m older and more experienced.”

Nigel adds, “I really look up to dad and I’d like continue his success in the Charolais.”

Ideal Cow

“I like a big roomy cow and she has to have milk and a good replacement index - but we won’t mention ICBF!” Nigel laughs. “She needs to have very correct legs and a nice head, but I like shapey cows - shapey cows, but not too much muscle.”