I farm: “Full-time with 80 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows and 110 Belclare and Texel ewes on 180ac with my father, Kevin, and grandfather, Liam. 100ac is owned and 80ac is rented, with 25ac of the home farm run as a marshland area for nature along the River Barrow.”

Dairy: “We milk all year round with 60% calving in spring and 40% in autumn. We use AI on all the cows, with our homebred Holstein bull used to cover the last of the heifers. We rear all our heifers but our bull calves are sold locally. With our herd, we’re looking for milk solids, good structure and their feet have to be sound.”

Sheep: “The ewes lamb from the middle of February and all lambs are reared off grass. We cross a Texel or Belclare ram back to the ewes and fatten all ram lambs for the mart. We sell any excess ewe lambs off-farm for breeding and keep what we need ourselves. Our flock is completely closed apart from buying in rams every two years and the dairy herd is the same.”

Biodiversity: “We’re into biodiversity and are trying to do our bit. There are 40 beehives on the marshland and we’re working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to put in a few ponds. With everything we do, we’re trying to minimise our impact on the environment. We’re trying to cut down on our nitrogen use to be more sustainable and because of the phenomenal cost of it. My mother, Miriam, is the brainchild behind it but we’ve sown our first 2.5ac paddock of multispecies and over-sown another 6ac with pasture clover. We’ve also bought a Tow and Fert Multi 500 which mixes the urea and ammonia with water and gets it right to the leaf of the plant.”

Aoife O'Shea with her parents, Kevin and Miriam. \ Mary Browne

Quotable quote: “Bigger is not always better when it comes to farming. Trying to be self-sufficient and sustainable with what you have is what we need to do and for all young farmers, I’d tell them don’t be afraid to try something new.”

Aoife O'Shea with her two-week-old Valirann filly foal Stella and mare Trisha. \ Mary Browne