I farm: “200ac of spring and winter barley including a small amount of oats alongside my father Dan and my partner Clodagh. We sell 50% of our barley produce, predominantly from the spring crop, directly to Clonakilty Distillery and 50% goes as feed barley to Lisavaird Co-op.”
Spring barley: “We aim to sow for St Patrick’s Day each year but the bad weather had us getting it in on 20 March. We’ve been doing versions of min-till for 20 years and our system is as good as we can get it.
In a dry year, it really retains moisture. It’s important to keep the stubble in good condition and we might give it a light cultivation.
It gets slurry from 1 March and when sowing, we’d put the nitrogen compound into the seed bed. We come back with the cross dressing in early April and the final fungicide is going on the spring barley and oats this week.”
Harvest: “The spring crop is doing well as there haven’t been any extremes of weather. We’ll harvest the winter barley around 20 July and the spring will go the second week of August. We also grow some oats which are sold locally for horse feeding.”
Sustainability: “We grow 7ac of wild bird cover and keep 6m arable margins in one of our fields along the river. We’re a member of GLAS and there are lots of sustainability measures, the number one being the min-till system.”
Distillery: “We’ve been providing more and more to the local distillery over the last four years along with eight other local farmers. I’m being paid a premium on top of the feed barley price and we’re being encouraged to do more on sustainability with the prospect of an additional premium to incentivise our greener measures. I dry the barley, clean and store it for the eight others and it’s certainly a major part of my business.”
Whiskey: “Something that was grown here in my fields is exported and drunk across the globe. There’s farm to fork but we really have field to glass.”