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Glanbia supplier wins Grassland Farmer of the Year Award 2019

All Dairy

A strong emphasis on biodiversity and sustainability helped Bryan Daniels land the prestigious overall Grassland Farmer of the Year award.

The awards, which have an overall prize fund of €30,000 kindly funded by the Department of Agriculture, rewards those farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation on their farms.

The practices on the farm, where 300 cows are milked in Kilmoganny, south Kilkenny, caught the eye of the judges as Bryan grows 17.3t DM/ha across the milking platform.

The farmer explained he spread 167kg N/ha across the farm. “We have been using protective urea for four years now and we are going to be using it fully this year,” he said, with half of the nitrogen spread in 2019 from protected urea. In addition, he prioritises soil fertility, with emphasis on his indexes and lime spread during the winter months.

Bryan, along with his wife Gail and young son Eli, were pictured in Teagasc Moorepark with sponsors Tadhg Buckley, AIB; Liam Woulfe, Grassland Agro; Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine; Padraig Walsh, FBD Insurance and Chairman Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal; Liam Herlihy, Teagasc Chairman and Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director.

Bryan achieved the highest number of grazings per paddock per year, with an average of 10.2 grazings. “Our best feed is out on our paddocks and grass is the key to our sustainability on farm,” said Bryan.

“So if we want to get the best feed into our cows we have to get out as early as possible and keep grazing until December."

“We need to focus on our rotational lengths to maximise the grass quality, depending on the growth stage of the grass we are going in at the three-leaf stage and just trying to hit the paddocks as many times as possible,” he said.

“The grass-based produce from Irish farms stands up to the scrutiny of all of our consumers and is a top-quality sustainable product.”

“We try to be fully sustainable in all aspects from environment to labour on farm. I’d love to see every farmer plant some trees and hedges this year so we can all say we are doing our utmost to promote biodiversity,” said Bryan, who encourages biodiversity through a ensuring a healthy balance by following a rotation in hedgerow maintenance each year.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said: “We all know grassland is a key resource for the ruminant sector and these finalists are vital to the wider industry to showcase what can be achieved sustainably inside the farm gate’’.

The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards are part of the Teagasc Grass10 campaign which is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc, AIB, FBD Insurance, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal.

Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “This competition is now gaining considerable momentum, it provides a huge stimulus for farmers to improve their grassland management practise, whether it is improving grassland measurement, soil fertility or grazing infrastructure. These farmers will show us all the potential that can be achieved from managing grass to high levels.”

The finalists achieved average grass production of 15.1t DM/ha, completed over 40 farm cover measurements and achieved over a tonne of animal output (either milk solids or carcase/ha).

First Published 17 December 2019

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