I farm: “22ha of mixed land, dry and wet meadows, mountain and naturally regenerated woodland. It’s never been reseeded and contains a very mixed sward, depending on the rock type underneath.”

The herd: “I keep 10 pedigree Belted Galloway cows, since I switched from Charolais. I wanted an animal that could look after itself. I bought cows from the Ballylough herd in Co Antrim, Co Kerry and Cumbria in England. My stock bull is a former junior champion at the Royal Highland Show.”

Part-time: “I work in the pharmaceutical industry so my farming is in the evenings and weekends. Most stock are outwintered on silage and sometimes a small amount of meal.”

Belties: “Belted Galloways are an extremely hardy, easy-fed, low-cost suckler cow. They calve easily and their calves are up and sucking quickly. They grow two hair coats, a long outer coat to shed the rain, and an inner one, almost fur-like, to protect from cold and damp. They are naturally polled and the belt makes them easily spotted when herding in low light or at a distance on the hill.”

The system: “I sell pedigree heifers for breeding. They make around €1,300 at 10 months. The males are sold both as store bullocks for further fattening and breeding bulls.”

Family: “I took over the farm from my aunt Phil and father Liam seven years ago but they keep an eyes on things when I’m away, as do my wife Mary and children Alexandra (14) and James (12).”

High nature value farming: “Marginal farmland here in the west has biodiversity that has been lost elsewhere. This farm has some Burren-type flowers and the silage fields have yellow ‘hay’ rattle. I’m in the GLAS, BDGP and Knowledge Transfer schemes.”

Hill cattle: “Belties are suited to marginal farming, eating coarse grasses such as rushes and purple moor grass. They graze out rank grasses that hill sheep will not touch. We need to see more hill cattle for hill country. My cows and calves have just moved to the mountain to graze out the molinia and bent grasses before they turn at the end of September.”

Quotable quote: “Suckler beef farming needs to move up the value chain to reward farmers. It should be centred on taste and texture and not just kilogrammes, with butchers and restaurants selecting breeds based on taste. What better way to circumvent Brexit than producing beef in a natural way, from the old breeds of these islands such as pedigree Belted Galloways?”