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Sugar Beet Past & Future?

Calso Cooks


Know your President

April 2013

In Focus:

Silage & Breeding


INSIDE A cap to fit


Dairy News/ brief 08 Supercow 10 O’Connor Family awarded 11 Fertility management 12 Beef Teagasc online clinic Q & A 14 Breeding Management 16 Pedigree Dairy Expo 19 Sheep Lambing season 20 Schmallenberg impact 21


CAP reactions

Silage Good quality baled silage 22 Treated silage improves fertility 25 Tips on silage making 25 Forestry High demand for Teagasc forestry clinics 26 Tillage News/ brief 28 Soil fertility management 29 Irish sugar industrial revival 30 Eddie Power: the beet song 32 What Irish sugar means 33 Machinery

TLB890 comes to town Contractor profile

34 36

FOOD News News/ brief 40


Contractor Profile

Farners Markets High standards at Ennis Farmers Market 42 Home Cooking Calso cooks 44 Grow Your Own The gardener’s year 46 What you may not (want to) know about grow your own 48 Small holdings Marans 49

HOBBIES Laughing stock 50 Vintage Ballyedmond vintage classic & road run 51 Farm Models

Ennis date for model show



grow your own

Equestrian Point to Point 54 Entertainment

Pilgrim Hill film


RURAL INTEREST Youth/Macra Career in agriculture 58 Crossmahon ploughing 59 Possible Marca presidents 60 Munster Vice president candidates 63 Business e coli outbreak 65 By-Gone Days Bosco Recalls 66 Bosco’s yarn 69 Health Your health is your wealth



by-gone yarn

Next Issue: Late April Preview: Summer Shows

Please send us any stories, news items, images or anything else that you might consider of interest to us.

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nvas print Win your image in ca edited in print and see your work cr Send your photographs in by 19th April 2013

Issue April 2013 Editorial: Editor: Jason Webb Email: Tweets: Friend:

Advertising: (086)4684411 Magazine Design: Katharina Walter Advert Design: Charlie Geary, Katja Berger

Distribution and Publisher: Grassroots Media Ltd Next Issue distribution – 15,000

Photography: Alan Betson/Irish Times, Brian Solomon, Denis Boyle, Flickr (creative commons), Victoria Deane, Katja Berger

Contributors: Carly Dolan, Des Lysaght, Dr. Dan Ryan, Jackie W.B., Maurice Healy, Paul O’Sullivan, Stephen Dowling

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any shape or form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocoping or otherwise without written permission of the publishers, Grassroots Media Ltd. Whilst every care is taken of submitted MSS, photographs, drawings and content, no responsibility can be accepted for their loss or damage. Grassroots Media Ltd does not accept responsibility for the quality or content of advertisements or articles supplied by, or compiled under instruction from a third party. Grassroots Media Ltd does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by opinion, tips and advice giving in this publication. Grassroots Media Ltd accepts no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributors and advertisers. In addition, while every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information contained in Grassroots Magazine, we do not accept responsibility for any errors or matters arising same.

FARM Forestry



by Carly Dolan


This week’s agreement on a European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform position is being treated as a step in the right direction by Irish farmers. Of 27 European Union (EU) member state agriculture ministers, 25 agreed to the Single Farm Payment position during a meeting lead by the Irish presidency of the European Council in Brussels on Tuesday night. It followed two days of tense negotiations. The radical CAP reform will determine how farm payments will be distributed across member states over five years, from 2015 to 2020. The deal struck on Tuesday saw some crucial amendments to the position, including the option of using 2012, 2013 or 2014 as the base year when determining farmers’ entitlements, with 2012 believed to be the front-runner. The European Parliament will begin further negotiations in April, with a final agreement expected in June. The sticking point for Irish farmers had been the flat-rate payment per hectare proposal by the European Commission, which is already used in some member countries. However, this most recent agreement allows for flexibility where there is to be a transition to a flat-rate system. Under the proposed scheme, 6

60,000 farmers in Ireland would see increases in their payments while 54,000 farmers would see losses, according to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. Minister Coveney also agreed to 30 per cent of the payment being connected to environmentally sustainable farming. Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) President John Bryan said Commissioner Ciolos’ flat payment proposal was becoming more and more isolated as negotiations continued. He said the decision reached in Brussels provided important flexibilities for Ireland, including approximation, variable greening and coupled payments. “However, tens of thousands of

farmers will still lose significant amounts from their Single Farm Payment”. “IFA’s position remains that there should be minimum redistribution over the longest timeframe, with objective criteria to target payments to farmers who have increased their production.” Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association President John Comer said people needed to realise that the agreement did not represent the final decision, with the negotiation process ongoing. “While the agreement will need careful analysis, it appears that useful flexibilities have been achieved, including the option of choosing 2012 as a base year, which should help to remove speculation from the land rental market.” Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association President Gabriel Gilmartin said it was “positive” that options were still open to minimising the impact on active producers, particularly in the small to medium cattle and sheep sector. “The fact that there was no minimum per hectare payment set as a result of the talks means that Minister Coveney’s approximation approach is still in the game but the final outcome will be de-


To Fit cided by trilogue talks involving the commission, parliament and council,” he said. However, Macra na Feirme accused the council of not supporting young farmers. “It has become abundantly clear that European agricultural ministers are more influenced by the largest vested interests rather than bringing forward strong policies to improve the declining age profile of European and Irish farmers,” the organisation’s National President Alan Jagoe said. “Minister Coveney has delivered a compromised document that resisted the worst excesses of convergence to a flat rate payment. However, it now appears that the priority of young farmers has been sacrificed to achieve this deal.” Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív TD highlighted the fact that the overall funding for the CAP was to be reduced for the first time in its history; however he welcomed the inclusion of the French option of frontloading payments. “Another hurdle in agreeing a new CAP agreement has been jumped and I would hope we can find a solution by the end of this year,” he said. Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said she still had concerns about the overall allocation. “While there is now an acceptance of the need to move towards a fairer system of distributing farm payments, it is still unclear what this will mean if the agreement is implemented,” she said.

Farmer Drives Tractor at Garda John Burns, a sheep farmer from Westport, Co. Mayo took matters into his own hands after being refused a firearms certificate at least twice by two Garda Superintendents. Burns was so enraged by these refusals that he drove a tractor at speed into the yard of a Garda station where a retired officer was gardening at the time of the incident. This Garda had to jump into a raised flower bed to avoid being pinned against a wall. Burns threatened to get a gun to “sort out” the local Gardaí. While being arrested after the incident Burns continued to be aggressive and abusive. “He was threatening and abusive and made another reference to getting a revolver” said Sgt Harrington. Burns was described by Rory O Connor who was defending him in court as “a nuisance more than a danger” and that he had “a great dislike for people in uniform” Burns pleaded guilty to charges of assault, public order and dangerous driving at Westport District Court. He is also under instruction to not bother the Gardaí and the case has been adjourned for 12 months to monitor his behaviour.



News/ brief

The Chinese veterinary authorities have reported one outbreak of foot and mouth disease, affecting cattle at a farm located in Qinghai. The source of the outbreaks has not yet been determined. A total of 63 animals were found susceptible, out of which two cases were reported. While no deaths were recorded, all 63 animals were destroyed. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 1 on 18 March. The FMD outbreaks in China have been going on for a month.

Meanwhile, The Russian veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Zabaykalsky Krai, affecting cattle, sheep/goats and swine populations. A total of 2245 cattle were found susceptible, out of which 169 cases were reported. No deaths were recorded and no animals were destroyed. In the case of pigs, 2053 showed signs of susceptibility, out of which 7 cases were reported. No deaths were recorded and no animals were destroyed.

Dairy Briefs BVD Eradication Update

NZ Woes Lead To Higher Global Milk Price Media outlets in China have reported that Chinese importers have used up the import quota of New Zealand dairy products for 2013, and further imports will be levied in accordance with the Most Favored Nations (MFN) tax rate. Milk powder from New Zealand experienced the dicyandiamide scandal early this January and now the New Zealand major milk producing area is suffering from drought, causing concerns about rising costs. The latest Global Dairy Trade Auction has seen massive increases in milk prices. In Ireland Pat McCormack, ICMSA Deputy President and Chairman of the Dairy


Committee, has raised concerns over the slow increase in the Irish milk price and the effect this is having on the farming family unit. Mr McCormack said “farmers could see plainly for themselves that demand for dairy products had now reached a momentum that saw a 25% jump in international prices in less than three weeks while price they received have in no way reflected the obvious buoyancy in markets.” “ICMSA expects every processor in the country to deliver on a minimum 35 cents per litre milk price in the next round”, stated Mr McCormack.

Results for the first two months have been released by Animal Health Ireland for the approximately 514,000 BVD tissue sample results received by ICBF. As of the end of February, figures indicate that 0.8% gave a positive result on initial testing, with a further 0.08% giving an inconclusive result. 1.1% of samples received were empty. These values are similar to those found in the voluntary phase of the programme in 2012. Scanning Demo Dr Dan Ryan has invested heavily in new technology around cow scanning. He will be giving a demonstration of his new equipment at Horgan’s Open Farm Day, Dungarvan on April 11th 2013 between 11am-4pm. Please see for more details.

FARM Forestry

Picture Denis Boyle

Distributed 9 in Ireland by Eurogene AI Services Tel: 1800 60 40 20

FARM Dairy


Meet Irelands newest celebrity, Oreo, or as she is being dubbed these days Supercow! 7 year old Oreo lives on the Kirby’s farm in Ballyneety, Co. Limerick. Supercow is a title she definitely deserves after giving birth to 5 calves this spring. In fact this is the second time Oreo has given birth to 5 calves. Incredibly, in her seven years, or 4 pregnancies, she has given birth to no less than 16 calves. This birth however had a severe impact on Oreo “she only barely survived it actually” says Ger Kirby Snr. It is believed to be the first time these multiple births have occurred. Giving birth to twins is common but giving birth to 5 calves, all well and thriving, is very rare. According to Dr. Dan Ryan Oreo is the first cow in the world to give birth to 5 calves


twice. Dr. Dan Ryan along with the Kirby family is seeking to have Oreo entered into the Guinness book of records for her achievements. Research is currently underway to find out if there is a reason for the rare multiple births. For now, Oreo is having a well deserved rest.

FARM Dairy

Farm Awarded The O’ Connor family have been awarded with winning the National Dairy Council and Carbery Quality Milk Awards.

t Farm a at their cork were s lf a c g the n Co d feedin la, Upto orr. Picture ill, Knockavil dhbh O’Conn h a ll S Russe Fintan and n yle Childre nis Bo Picture


The farm based in Upton, Co. Cork carries 48 cows on 60 acres. Vanessa Kiely- O’ Connor runs the farm with her husband David who works off farm at Cork Airport, helping out between his shifts. Vanessa admits “I’m not from a farming background but I grew up in Ballybrown, Co Limerick, surrounded by farms and was always interested in farming activities”. After finishing secondary school, Vanessa went on to do a year in the agricultural college and then a farm apprenticeship. As part of the apprenticeship, Vanessa was placed with Con and Mary Kelleher in Upton. “I would never have guessed I would meet my now husband David and that six years later be married and living in Co Cork” says Vanessa.

Vanessa Kiely O’Connor pictured with her dairy cows.

With her two kids Fintan, aged 11, and Sadhbh, who is 10 helping out on the farm it’s very much a case of all hands on deck.

Picture Denis Boyle


FARM Dairy

Fertility As breeding season approaches, it is highly worthwhile taking a look at how you can improve fertility in your herd. Not only will this be of benefit to your herd but will also provide long term increase in profits. At Elite Bovine Genetics we believe bull selection, husbandry and the correct fertility management increase the positive results of compact calving and fewer empty cows. Starting at the time of drying off, cows should have had a condition score of 2.75 and a condition score of 3 to 3.25 at calving. When calving, cows which were bred to hard calving bulls should be given more attention. Calving difficulty, besides its effect on calf and cow mortality and on milk yield, also decreases cow fertility and performance. Data clearly shows that when calving difficulty increases, conception rates drop on the first and subsequent inseminations. This reduction in conception rate is due to abnormalities arising from the calving difficulty including increased uterine infection and delayed uterine involution. Difficult calving pushes out the interval to the cow’s first heat, for optimal reproductive performance, calving difficulty must be minimised. Two factors that greatly influence calving difficulty are cow age and sire breed. The incidence of calving difficulty is four to eight times higher in first calving heifers than in mature cows and


about twice as high in second calvers as in mature cows. Breed of sire and indeed the individual sire within a breed, should be carefully selected for use on heifers and on young cows to minimise the risk of calving difficulty and infertility. While it is an increasing practice to breed late calving dairy cows to continental sires, the combined effects of the longer gestation and the increased incidence of calving difficulty make it even more difficult to achieve a 365-day calving interval in such cows. Post calving the cow needs to maintain a positive energy balance to increase the chance of conception and maintaining a viable embryo. Once the cow has calved down the following practice is necessary to understand the cow’s oestrous cycle. Record all of your cow’s heat patterns; this will help to identify your problematic cows. From now until breeding season you will have built up an excellent database of information while also picking up cows that have luteal or follicular cysts and cows that have become inactive post calving. Furthermore, watching for a dirty discharge from your cows when they are lying down will give you a very good indication if there is infection in the uterus. At this stage I would highly recommend scanning your herd. Scanning

will detect and confirm those problematic cows. Each cow that presents a problem can be treated accordingly. One excellent example of husbandry on a farm which I regularly scan in was a herd of 250 cows and 70 heifers in Tipperary. It is a spring calving herd that artificially inseminates once a day. All cows are examined with the scanner per breeding season, bulls are selected to suit the cows, and all cows are artificially inseminated for 7 weeks and mopped up after with a Friesian bull. When the breeding season was over and I went back to scan again in September, there was three cows and two heifers not in calf out of 320 animals, with 85% of the herd scanned in-calf to the AI period. Excellent herd management and bull selection had a massive role to play in achieving such a positive result.

Artificial Insemination The advantages of using Artificial Insemination are clearly to be seen, wide gene pool to choose from, insemination dates for calving and elimination of dangerous or infertile bulls. There are some disadvantages which can be overcome through proper management. Artificial Insemination requires more labour, facilities and managerial skills than natural service

FARM Dairy

Management but these aren’t a problem on most modern farms today. Timing of insemination is very important. Cows which are in heat should be left for twelve hours before inseminating, but often this isn’t practical as cows entering oestrus might not suit your timetable twelve hours later. The best practice when you’re artificialy inseminating your cows is the am/pm rule. If the cow is in oestrous in the morning AI her in the evening, if she is in oestrous in the evening, AI her in the morning. Another method adopted by bigger dairy herds is once a day AI. This method works well in larger herds with an acceptable amount of losses due to untimely AI.

Bull fertility When depending on a bull for your reproductive programme it is not a case of opening the gate and letting the bull out to the field. Bull reproductive performance is influenced by several factors including: testicular development; semen quality; libido; mating ability; and physical soundness. Another factor worth remembering is the ratio of bulls to cows. Young bulls less than 18 months should not be grouped with anything more than 25 cows where bulls from 2-3 years can handle up to 35 cows. Older bulls have the maturity to handle more cows but if you have a big herd it is well worth rotating your bulls at every milking. When you’re scanning your cow’s pre breeding season it is well worth evaluating your bull’s fertility. A fertility and semen evaluation on three bulls would cost no more than €150 euro where infertile bulls could cost you thousands in empty cows. An exami-

nation combined with a semen evaluation one month before the start of the breeding season will help to identify the infertile bulls; however it will not identify sub-fertile bulls. Furthermore, it should be realised that a bull may not remain fertile for all of his working life or indeed throughout a single mating season. For example, a bull that is ill with a raised temperature for a number of days may have a period of temporary infertility about 40 to 60 days later. Similarly, injury to the penis, sheath or prepuce, while not necessarily affecting mounting behaviour, can prevent mating. Therefore, the bull should be observed regularly for serving ability and all mating dates recorded. Such recording will help identify infertile or sub-fertile bulls at an early stage. For improved husbandry and fertility management of your herd, make time to evaluate your herd status. Ask yourself what I can do pre breeding season to improve conception and the viability of the embryo. Make time to scan your herd, picking out your problematic cows and sort any problems prior to the breeding season. If you are relying on stock bulls, take the time to fertility test the bulls now. Infertility with your stock bull should be sorted now rather than noticing a problem half way through the breeding season. If you are using AI, make time to pick the bull that suits your cows. The decisions you make now affect your breeding, fertility and cow health into the future. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well for the upcoming season and if you would like to maximise your herd’s potential the team here at Elite Bovine Genetics are more than happy to help.



Teagasc Teagasc held their first live online Q&A session on Animal Nutrition through their corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts recently. This online clinic was made possible with Dr. Siobhan Kavanagh, Nutrition Specialist providing detailed answers to questions sent in. The following related to beef. What are the needs of a 750 kg cow suckling a 2 month old calf to ensure milk and getting back incalf eating 55DMD silage? If that cow is being bred on 55 DMD, there will be a high requirement for meals to maintain the calf and ensure that she is in positive energy balance for breeding. 55 DMD is not much better than moderate quality hay and is significantly deficient in energy. Protein is also low in the silage and the cow needs protein to produce milk. Under stress with bad silage, minerals are important.

preferable that animals get grass in the diet as soon as possible to reduce meal feeding rates and help get them back in calf. It’s important that the cow is getting minerals on this silage. For breeding the most important minerals are phosphorus, copper, selenium & iodine. I feed some 5kg of beef nuts to my cattle daily. I have a plentiful supply of high quality, locally produced barley. Can you tell me if there is anything I could add to this barley to create a substitute feed that would be nutritionally equivalent to the beef nuts? I like the idea of using local produce, but also want to ensure adequate nutrition. I am assuming that you are finishing cattle on silage + meals. The energy content of the barley is as good and in many cases better than a purchased beef nut. For finishing cattle 5 kg of barley + minerals + good quality silage (72 DMD) will finish them. Feed twice a day. These animals will not need a protein source, as its energy that they need to finish them.

With silage, if animals are being bred on silage, consider buying in a silage of better quality or more importantly get them to grass to increase energy intake and reduce meals costs If cows are in good condition and will get to grass within 1 month and breeding at grass feed 2-3 kg meals up to turnout.

If it’s young stock you are also feeding, a possible mix would be 75% barley, 22.5% rapeseed meal and 2.5% minerals. This could be fed at 2-2.5 kg feeding rate to weanlings.

If cow condition is poor, meal feeding rates will need to be increased by 1-1.5 kg. These meal feeding levels are not sustainable in a beef system so it’s

If a bull is running with 40 sucklers and I want to throw some dairy nuts to the cows to prevent grass tetany and bring them into heat quicker..


will the dairy nuts affect the bulls libido in any way? If the cows are at grass, I would question the need to feed ration unless they are being bred indoors on silage. Male animals should not get minerals with magnesium added to it. Magnesium can cause urinary problems in male animals. It’s probably preferable that the bull is not eating the ration with a high level of magnesium in it as it can cause urinary problems in males – urolithiasis – it’s basically a build up of minerals (esp magnesium) in the urinary tract which affects the passing of water. Bigger issue if not consuming enough water. This may upset the bull and possibly his libido also. We save our own barley to feed to finishing heifers and weanlings. We mix it along with a barley balancer and minerals and we get a 14% ration. With the high price of soya and other protein feed stuffs is there any alternative crop that can be grown to provide a protein source to replace the balancer? We have been quite unsuccessful in growing protein feeds in this country unfortunately. We have had some success with beans but poorly with lupins and peas. If you were to grow your own protein, it would be beans but the yield is a major issue and after that processing and storage.


Online Clinic Is barley and soya sufficient to finish cattle with ad lib silage. 70% dmd. They don’t seem to be doing as good this year as other years? Yes barley + soya + 70 DMD silage should finish cattle. But a few things to check: 1. Have you the silage analysed, is it actually 70 DMD? 2. What feeding rate are you at? You should be feeding 5.5 kg meals with 70 DMD silage for 1.0 kg LW gain 3. Are you feeding minerals? 4. Have you dosed for fluke? – worth taking a few dung samples and checking for rumen fluke 5. Is space allowance adequate? 6. Adequate water supply? 7. Ventilation in the shed? I was going to grow magnum fodder beet this season, will this need as much balancer as maize for my beef cattle? I was hoping to feed up to 20-25 kg of magnum to finishers? Magnum fodder beet is lower in crude protein and lower DM than maize silage so it will need slightly more protein to balance it up. Assuming you are feeding 25 kg FB plus ad lib silage, you will need 1.1 kg soya + minerals OR 2.0 kg rapeseed meal + minerals OR 3.4 kg of a 25% CP balancer.



by Dr. Dan Ryan

bovine reproductive physiologist


It has been widely publicized that there has been a steady decline in reproductive performance in the dairy herd population over the past twenty years. greater than 0.5 on the first six weeks after calving will have normal uterine involution and return to oestrous cycles assessed using USART.

It may come as a surprise to many that the average calving interval for the Irish suckler cow population is similar to that encountered in the dairy herd.

However,2 reproductive performance in the suckler herd is impaired for radically different reasons than encountered in the dairy herd. Over the past two years CowsDNA have collected reproductive data from dairy and beef cattle in both the North and South of Ireland.  We have adapted the use of ultrasonography of the reproductive tract (USART) to create a unique system whereby an assessment can be made of both individual cow and herd health status.  This data is currently being analysed in conjunction with Teagasc and ICBF and will be made available for future development of the industry. In my opinion there are three primary constraints placed on the suckler herd integrating optimum reproductive performance. 1. Cows are semi-starved in the latter part of gestation to avoid difficult calvings. 2. Semi-starvation post calving to avoid excess milk production and consequent scouring



among calves. 3. Failure to correctly match cows with the sire used whereby poor quality suckler cows are bred to sires with an exacerbated risk of dystocia at birth. Results from scanning using our unique USART technology reveal that the primary reason for delayed return to heat cycles post calving in the suckler cow are associated with dystocia at calving, poor body condition score (BCS) at calving, excessive BCS loss post calving and poor diet management. A suckling effect is commonly offered as a primary cause of delayed return to cyclicity in particular among first calvers.   However in our experience suckler cows managed to maintain BCS precalving, minimal dystocia  and a BCS loss of no

This data is supported by the fact that these cows have a shorter calving to pregnancy interval. This all makes economic sense but we as cattle breeders all desire to produce weanlings with excellent weight and confirmation for age figures.  The focus has to change whereby sires are used that will not result in dystocia among cows managed to maintain BCS in the latter phase of pregnancy. There is also a need to select the correct type of maiden heifers to become dams in the suckler herd.  Excessive selection for muscle index and associated poor pelvis area have resulted in an increased incidence of delayed puberty, poor reproductive performance and increased dystocis. The current emphasis on first calving at two years of age dictates that maiden heifers cannot get health setbacks during this period which unfortunately are too frequent.  Health management programmes entailing biosecurity, health monitoring, vaccination   anthelmintic   treatments and nutritional management are essential to achieve the desired status after calving at two years of age. The use of AI has been mainly restricted to suckler herds while


Management housed indoors during the winter months. When cows are  put out to grass in the spring it is frequently to an outside  farm where access to handling facilities is minimal.   Farmers neither have the desire nor the time required to spend watching cows for visual signs of heat.  There is therefore the standard introduction to a stock bull to the herd.  This literally places all your eggs in the one basket in terms of genetic potential of the progeny risk of infertility in the bull and dystocia at birth. AI could be used successfully at the onset of the breeding season by using USART technology.  This entails the scanning of all cows calved greater than 14 days at the onset of the

breeding season. A programme can be put in place whereby those cows fit for service can be synchronized and bred over a short time period.  In addition those cows not fit for service can be managed to reduce days open when running with a stock bull. The stock bull is a necessity for the suckler herd to mop up those cows failing to settle to AI.  However please ensure the bull you use is fit for purpose.  Simple semen tests will evaluate semen fertility. Ensure your bull is capable of successfully serving cows. Studies show that 10 % of bulls are either subfertile or infertile. Embryonic mortality for either genetic or non-genetic reasons will prevent cows returning to normal heat for up

to nine weeks depending on the stage of the embryonic mortality. It is essential to scan cows using USART technology prior to the end of the breeding season and ideally 6-8 weeks into the breeding season.  There are several reasons for this approach. 1. Accurately age pregnancies. 2. Sex pregnancies greater than 51 days of age. 3. Identify cows with embryonic mortality to reduce days open. 4. Manage late calving cows to reduce days open. In conclusion, reproductive performance in the suckler herd could be dramatically improved using a few simple steps. 1. Match sires to your cows 2. Do not starve cows post calving to avoid scouring in calves 3. Avoid selecting replacements with excessive muscle index and poor pelvic size 4. Use ultrasonography ( USART) technology designed by CowsDNA to maximize reproductive performance

more details:



FARM Pedigree

Dairy Expo ABS Ireland based in Castletownroche, Co. Cork has kindly agreed to sponsor Paul Trapp, a sire analyst and a distinguished judge from Wisconsin in the USA. Ervin McKinstry, General Manager with ABS Ireland said “we are delighted to support Emerald Expo 2013 and to sponsor the judge for the event”. Mr. Trapp is a Regional Sire Analyst with ABS Global. Some of his favourite acquisitions to ABS include Dundee, Destry, Garrett, Gerard, Levi, Gillespy and Gavin. He has a B. Sc Degree (Agri Economics) from the University of Minnesota. Paul and his wife, Sarah own an elite group of Registered Brown Swiss, Jerseys and Holsteins receiving All-American nominations across all three breeds. He has served five years on World Dairy Expo’s Dairy Cattle Show Committee and was a member of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute’s inaugural class. At World Dairy Expo, Paul served as the 2010 Associate Guernsey Judge, was the lead judge for the 2011 International Milking Shorthorn Show and this year, Paul will be the lead judge for the International Ayrshire Show. In 2010, he was the confirmation judge at the Royal Winter Fair’s Canadian 4-H Classic Junior Dairy Show. He has

also travelled to International Dairy Week in Australia many times to judge. In addition, he has judged shows in Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan and Britain. He has judged shows in 15 different US states at local, state and national levels. Emerald Expo 2013 is organised by the IHFA in association with Alltech Ireland the major sponsor. It will have 20 classes, six Championships and a prize fund

Judge Paul Trapp

of €25K, one of the biggest for any Irish livestock event. The show has the support of all the dairy breeds- Pure Friesian, Jersey and Shorthorn. For the third consecutive year, Emerald Expo will take place at Cillin Hill, Kilkenny. As 90% of all dairy cattle in the Republic are located within 100 miles of this venue, it is a prime location for the first dairy show of the season. This year Emerald Expo will include information stands on subjects of topical interest to all farmers such as Renewable Energy and New Dairy Entrants. According to the Charles Gallagher, Chief Executive of the IHFA “personnel from Industry, Finance, Teagasc and Farm Organisations will be on hand to answer all your queries.” “The date has been moved to Saturday, April 27th to facilitate dairy farmers, sponsors and trade exhibitors. April is an ideal month as most cows have calved, are out on grass and silage harvesting is not in progress. Milk producers will now have more time to attend, network with other farmers and enjoy a well-deserved weekend break in the Marble City.” Significant supporters every year include the Dept. of Agriculture and Food, Glanbia and other Agribusiness sponsors such as AIB Bank, Dairymaster, KW Forage Systems, Lakeland Dairies, Pfizer Animal Health and Volac Ireland. Other sponsors include Animax, Bova, Dovea Genetics, Eurogene/LIC and Progressive Genetics/Semex.


FARM Sheep

by Carly Dolan


Lambing season is well underway in Ireland and the unrelenting issue of dogs attacking livestock is at the forefront of every sheep farmer’s mind. Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) figures revealed that 740 sheep were killed or injured by dog attacks since last year’s lambing season, with Laois recording the highest number of attacks, followed by Roscommon, Donegal and Wexford. Kilkenny farmer and IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy called for more responsible dog ownership to address the situation. “The frequency of attacks on sheep flocks is very disturbing and illustrates the dreadful consequences of the failure to keep dogs under control,” he said. “Aside from the economic losses, for which dog owners can be held liable, the welfare implications for the flock can be very severe and long-lasting. Sheep never recover fully from a dog attack and can suffer ongoing difficulties, including reproduction problems and increased nervousness affecting their general health.” Already this year, there have been some horrific cases of dog attacks on sheep, including 95 ewes being


mauled in Roscommon, with 46 of them killed, and a further 70 killed in Laois. YOUR RIGHTS AS A SHEEP FARMER Under the Control of Dogs Act, if a dog is caught attacking livestock or marauding on land where there is livestock, farmers are legally entitled to shoot the dog. Alongside this, the owner of a dog that attacks livestock can be found guilty of an offence in Ireland, and ordered to pay damages and costs.

TIPS TO STOP YOUR DOG ATTACKING LIVESTOCK 1) Make sure your dog can’t roam: While there are other measures you can take to lessen the risk of your dog attacking sheep, this is the only one that will ensure it doesn’t happen. Make sure you have a decent run or that your yard is fully fenced and your dog is not able to escape from it. 2) Give your dog adequate exercise: While an attack on a flock of sheep has more to do with a dog’s instinct than a lack of exercise, your pet is less likely to want to roam, chase and attack livestock if he receives adequate attention and exercise. 3) Keep your dog on a leash: If you are walking your dog in a rural area and there is livestock nearby, keep

FARM Sheep

Season Des Lysaght

Schmallenberg Impact All the sheep appeared happy and healthy throughout pregnancy. The first three ewes gave birth to abortions, lambs without eyes, ears, tails and even stomachs. You cannot imagine how awful these sights were to face and how upsetting it was. Out of the first 8 lambs born, none were born alive.

them on a leash unless you are sure you can stay in control of your pet using voice commands. 4) Train your dog from a young age that sheep are not prey: If you live in a rural area and you adopt a puppy, it is a good idea to introduce them to livestock and “socialise” them from a young age. Dog trainers will use the word “leave” to train the puppy not to disturb sheep. 5) Re-train your dog: If the situation has gotten out of hand and your dog has already been caught chasing or attacking sheep, there are ways of retraining them; however, you will most likely need a professional dog trainer by that stage. Punishing your dog after the act, when he is back at home does not work, according to trainers all over the world. Dogs will only respond to immediate repercussions when they are doing something that you want to teach them is wrong.

I have been farming sheep for 38 years now. Never have I witnessed anything like the epidemic that is Schmallenberg. The Schmallenberg Virus is a new emerging livestock disease that has been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and now unfortunately in Ireland. The disease is transmitted by midges that bite the animals back. So far the disease has been found to affect sheep, cattle, goats and even alpaca. The effects of Schmallenberg are horrific. Congenital malformations in newborn sheep, goats and calves are the most obvious symptoms. In many cases, the mother apparently has not presented symptoms of illness prior to giving birth. For me it all began around the 28th of February. With 110 Charollais and Suffolk cross ewes due to lamb from the 10th of March onwards, I knew my hands would be full. Nothing however, could have prepared me for what I was about to face this lambing season.

Unfortunately I have lost three sheep due to poisoning from the deformed lambs they were carrying. I have had to have the vet visit my farm nearly every second day. On one Saturday alone I had the vet out to my farm twice. First to deal with a ewe who had thrown out her womb due to poising (The vet ended up visiting this sheep 3 times). On her second visit that day the vet had to perform a caesarean on another Sheep. The sheer cost of this on top of all the fatalities has left me devastated. I have been left feeling completely stressed and helpless. I now also have to face the reality that next year there is the possibility that this lambing season will have consequences on the fertility rate of my ewes. There is no cure in Ireland yet. A vaccine has been developed and is going to be on trial in Britain shortly. Even if this vaccine is a successful one, by the time it reaches Ireland I am afraid the damage will already have been done on my farm. To date I have lost 30% of my lambs.


FARM Silage

Good Quality Teagasc Research Scientist Dr. Padraig O’Kiely of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Grange recently presented tips for making quality baled silage at the recent Irish Grassland Association silage workshops. Perspective

High digestibility

Two-thirds of farms make baled silage each year, and on many cattle farms in particular it is the silage-making system of choice. These baled silages span a wide spectrum of quality, ranging from top grade feed with a nutritive value similar to grazed grass through to low grade feed incapable of meeting an animals maintenance requirements. In many cases the cost of producing excellent or bad quality baled silage is the same, but the rewards are considerably greater with the good quality feed. Although crop yield is always important, it is less influential in determining the feed cost of baled silage compared to pit silage since contractor harvesting costs are per bale rather than per hectare.

The baled silage on each farm should contribute appropriately to the specific energy needs of the cattle or sheep being produced. Thus, high silage digestibility (e.g. 73+% digestibility) is required for animals that are expected to reach a high rate of performance while consuming silage, whereas a more moderate digestibility (65-67% digestibility) is appropriate for dry spring-calving beef cows, store cattle, etc. In contrast, silages of less than 64% digestibility are rarely appropriate in commercial farming systems. Major factors determining the digestibility of baled silage are:

Silage quality Baled silages of excellent nutritive value will have high intakes by cattle or sheep, and will be efficiently converted to meat and milk. These excellent bales of silage will be 1. Highly digestible, 2. Well preserved 3. Free from yeast.



Whereas chop length is not directly important with cattle, shorter silage particle length can be beneficial with sheep.


- Sward type. The planned production of highly digestible baled silage is more easily achieved with perennial ryegrass swards. In contrast, moderate digestibility baled silage can be made with virtually any sward. - Previous management. The main requirement here if producing highly digestible baled silage is to avoid the presence of dead vegetation at the base of the grass crop. Experiments at Grange found that such accumulations of dead vegetation reduced overall digestibility by about 7 percentage units. Grazing swards down to a 5 cm stubble height in autumn or in early spring avoids this problem. - Grass growth stage at harvest. High digestibility depends on mowing the crop while it is still dominated by leaves and young stem – i.e. before

FARM Silage

Baled Silage seed-heads emerge fully. In the same context, paddocks or fields identified as surplus to requirements within a rotational grazing system can also produce baled silage of excellent digestibility. - Losses. Slow or intermittent wilting (e.g. due to prolonged, heavy rain on partially wilted grass), poor preservation or imperfect sealing of the bales will reduce the potential digestibility of the baled silage.

Good preservation All baled silage needs to be well preserved. This means it must be stored in an air-free environment and must be appropriately fermented. Factors that influence the preservation of baled silage include: - Sward type. Ryegrass dominant swards are inherently much easier to preserve as baled silage compared to grass swards dominated by nonryegrass species. This is because ryegrasses have a much higher content of sugar which is needed to fuel the preservation process. Quick and adequate wilting can largely overcome this potential limitation with nonryegrass swards. - Fertiliser and slurry/manure. The effective rate of nitrogen application can be up to 125 kg N/ha for a first-cut, and this should be applied at least six weeks prior to mowing. Excess nitrogen or too short a duration between its application and mowing can greatly reduce the sugar content of the grass, thereby making it more difficult to pre-

serve as baled silage. Where slurry is applied in spring it should only be applied to a short stubble so as to avoid any carryover of contamination with the harvested crop. - Weather. Obviously, drier, sunnier weather is ideal for making silage. - Grass growth stage at harvest. Leafier grass usually has less sugars than very stemmy grass, making it more difficult to preserve. Therefore, successful wilting is particularly essential when making baled silage with leafy grass. - Wilting. Wilting is a routine part of aiding the preservation of baled silage, and important guidelines here are: (a) Don’t mow the crop until after the dew has evaporated – this will remove about 2.5 tonnes water per hectare (1 tonne per acre). (b) Solar radiation is the main factor that then wilts mown grass, so the more grass surface that is exposed to direct sunshine during wilting the better. Thus, whereas tedding is the ideal solution, placing the mown grass in wide rather than narrow windrows (e.g. 67 rather than 50% ground cover) will result in more effective wilting (Table 1). - Air-free storage of the bale. This is the single most important step, and is dealt with below.


FARM Silage

Mould/yeast-free All baled silage needs to be free of visible growth of mould/yeast. This means that the air-free seal that is needed to permit good preservation must be fully maintained through to feedout. Important steps to achieve air-free conditions include: - Good wilting (i.e. drying) for 1 day can help produce bales that will be better at retaining their shape. The target is to reach 30% dry matter. This was discussed above. - Make very firm, regular-shaped bales. This involves producing evenshaped windrows and using a relatively slow forward speed for the baler. Engaging sharp cutting blades in a baler should increase bale density by about 10% (i.e. bales will weigh 550 rather than 500 kg), thereby making them firmer. When allied to properly wilted grass these bales are likely to retain their shape during storage, thereby helping maintain the integrity of the plastic seal. - Uniformly apply not less than 4 layers of film. Four layers of conventional film are necessary and, if applied properly, are adequate in most circumstances. Six or more layers of film are occasionally used where confidently producing a visibly mould-free bale of silage is particularly important. Under Irish climatic conditions the colour of the plastic film does not have a direct effect on baled silage quality – thus, black, green and white films can be equally effective. - Ideally transport the bales to the storage area and then wrap them. In many cases it can be difficult to transport a wrapped bale weighing 400-600 kg without causing some mechanical damage to the plastic film. This risk can be greatly reduced by transporting the bales to the storage area and then wrapping them. However, this is often not practical. - Move field wrapped bales to storage


area immediately. The reasons are that: (a) this reduces the risk of wrapped bales being attacked by birds in the field, (b) the bales are moved while their shape is more perfectly cylindrical (thereby reducing mechanical damage), and (c) the freshly applied plastic film can more effectively adapt to the mechanical strains applied during handling and transport. If wrapped bales cannot be moved quickly to the final storage area, they should at least be removed from around the stubble field. Table 2 summarises an experiment undertaken at Grange that shows how effectively this can reduce damage by crows. - Handle wrapped bales very gen-

tly when lifting and transporting. The importance of this, so as to avoid damaging the plastic film and thereby compromising its ability to seal the bale from air, should not be underestimated. Protect wrapped bales from livestock and wildlife. This entails (a) using livestock-proof fencing, and (b) using netting to deter larger birds from landing on the wrapped bales. The netting works better if tyres are placed between the bales and the netting. Repair any damage to the plastic wrap. Bales should be regularly inspected, and any damage should be immediately repaired using appropriate adhesive tape.

FARM Silage

A study involving more than 100 herds and 25,000 cows shows feeding grass silage treated with ABS Powerstart inoculant can reduce calving to conception intervals by 10 days per cow.

lage protein quality seen in the treated forage.

egg cell source:

The study, which was reported at the recent International Silage conference in Finland, included 103 herds, all of which were using ABS Reproductive Management System (RMS) to ensure consistently recorded and accurate fertility information. In total, 49 herds (11,621 cows) were fed grass silage treated with Powerstart. The remaining 54 herds (13,415 cows) were fed either untreated grass si-

lage or grass silage treated with a range of other additives. Cows fed with the treated silage had a mean calving to conception interval of 125 days, compared to other herds where the average interval was 135 days. ABS technical services director John Cook says he believes the improved calving to conception interval is linked to superior forage palatability, higher dry matter intakes and to improved si-

“Intakes play a big part in the management of early lactation energy balance. Cows with a daily DM intake equivalent to 4 per cent bodyweight are shown to be more likely to be in calf by 110 days post calving than those eating just 3.5 per cent of body weight.” “This difference in intake is equivalent to 1.5kg DM per day. Feeding trials with treated silage show a feed intake response of an extra 1kgDM per day meaning cows fed treated forage are closer to the 4 per cent target” Details on:

or contact Stephen Lavery, Product Manager on 087 9809052

Tips on Silage Making •

Only start mowing meadows when you are sure weather conditions will allow you complete the harvesting and ensilingprocesses.

To produce high DMD silage, mow the crop when seedheads start to emerge from the grass.

Ensure no soil contamination occurs to the grass during harvesting.

Either ensile immediately after mowing or wilt to over 25% DM within 24 hours of mowing. Successful wilting depends on mowing a dry crop and having sufficiently wide swaths that are capable of field-drying in good weather.

Fill the silo quickly, and shape it to facilitate proper sealing and appropriate removal of rainfall.

Use a ‘wall sheet’ plus two cover layers of black polythene sheeting. Fix the sheeting edges with a continuous layer of sandbags, etc., and cover edge-to-edge with tyres. Check the covering and sealing as the silage settles, and intervene as necessary to maintain the seal. Periodically throughout the storage period, inspect the plastic cover and repair any damage that occurs to the polythene.


More than double the anticipated number of landowners availed of a one to one consultation with a Teagasc Forestry Adviser this spring. These consultations were organised as part of a nationwide series of forestry clinics. Most of the nearly 600 landowners who attended are considering planting forestry on the farm. Dr. Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department said; “We had initially organised 38 forestry clinics across the country and we estimated that approximately 250 landowners would be interested in attending a one to one consultation. However, we didn’t expect this level of interest. To deal with this level of interest, we added several additional consultation days. A few of these forestry clinics are still ongoing. We estimate that we will have dealt with close to 600 landowners.”


Frances McHugh, Teagasc Forestry Adviser commented; “It is interesting to note that at least 80% of all queries related to planting forestry on the farm. Topics discussed included land suitability, environmental compatibility, interaction of forestry with other farm schemes, and potential returns on investment.” She continued; “Forestry grant aid application procedures were discussed in great detail at these consultations. All Forestry Advisers handed out many copies of the List of Registered Foresters who can process the forestry grant application on behalf of their clients. We therefore anticipate a substantial increase in queries to forestry consultants and companies over the next few months as a result of these Teagasc Forestry Clinics.” These consultations are i m p o r ta n t because making an informed

decision on forestry as an enterprise starts with becoming familiar with the issues involved. Planting land can have many attractions, but you need to know if it is appropriate for you. During these consultations, Teagasc forestry advisers provided information on financial returns from forestry, which is key to decision making for many landowners. The information provided can help to guide decisions about forestry as a viable enterprise and future forest management options. These Teagasc forestry clinics provided the information, expertise and advice necessary to assist in the decision making process in considering forestry on the farm. All details on forestry grant schemes available from the Teagasc Forestry website:

FARM Forestry

After 30 years of forestry investment, we’ve seen a thing or two



Green Belt starts planting and managing forestry investments.

Ireland stops booming. Green Belt is still going strong at 220,000 acres.



Jack Charlton starts managing the Republic of Ireland. Green Belt is now managing 15,000 acres.

Ireland endures

the coldest winter on record. Green Belt welcomes its 7,000th customer.



Mary Robinson becomes the first female President of Ireland. Green Belt remains No.1 in forestry investments managing 50,000 acres.

Green Belt celebrates its 30th birthday and reaches acre 250,000.

To celebrate, we’re giving you a chance to win a solid investment – 10 acres of forestry worth €110k! When it comes to forestry investment, it’s best to choose a company that’s been around the block. Green Belt has been managing forestry for 30 years, three times as long as our competitors, and we know what counts. 7,000 satisfied customers and 250,000 acres is a good start. The chance to win 10 acres of forestry is even better. Plant with us from now up to June 2013 and you’ll automatically be in with a chance to win this guaranteed investment. It’s potentially worth €110,000 over its 30-40 year lifetime – from sapling to sawdust – and, like all our investments, the annual income is tax-free. Recommend a friend and you’ll get an additional entry if they also invest.

To find out more, Freephone 1800 200 233 or visit today 27

FARM Tillage

News/ brief Andrew Watts heads fight to end EU seed shortage The first review of all European seed legislation in 40 years will be by Andrew Watts, who holds the role in Britain as NFU’s combinable crops board chairman. Mr Watts was elected Chair of the Seeds Advisory Committee to DGAgri. He will now head the fight to end “severe” seed shortages in Europe.

Tractors make their way up the hill at at the annual ploughing match at Killbritai n Co Cork. Picture Denis Boyle

He said: “I am delighted to be elected chairman of the committee. My task now is to make sure that the voice of the farmer is heard during European Commission meetings on a range of issues. “This is a crucial time for arable farmers. The last ten months of poor weather have been well documented and the impact on the 2012 harvest in England and Wales has been evident to all. Across Europe farmers are facing severe spring seed shortages.

Pictured taking part in the senior class at the annual ploughing match at Killb ritain Co Cork was Geoffrey Wycherly and his son Geoffrey Jnr from Barryroe. Picture Denis Boyle

“It is clear that we need a more flexible European legislative framework to account for modern farming practice, especially contract farming, and I look forward to working with the Commission to present our case.” Apart from seed availability he said he would also use the high-level role to convince EU policy makers to improve existing seed regulations and ensure that high profile topics such as a potential ban on neonicotinoids were not subject to precautionary legislative decisions and instead continued to be based on science.


Pictured before the start of the annu al ploughing match at Killbritain Co Cork were members of the committee and supporters. Picture Denis Boyl e

annual ploughingmatch

at Kilbritain

FARM Tillage

Soil Fertility Management Managing soil fertility on farms is a critical factor in having a productive and profitable farm. Given the diversity of soil fertility levels in Irish soils, it is essential to know how fertile the soils on your farm are by soil testing. Fertilizer programmes should then be tailored to the soil test results and the offtake of the crops and systems on the farm. Balanced fertilizer inputs based on this information is the key to

1) Soil samples

4) Slurry and manures

Have soil samples taken for the whole farm. Unless you know what is already in the soil, it is impossible to know how much fertilizer it needs. Therefore, by taking soil analysis and putting the results into practice, the fertilizer programme can be tailored to the needs of the soil and the crop. Repeating soil analysis over time is also critical to monitor the effectiveness of the fertilizer strategy.

While slurry can be more difficult to mange than chemical fertilizer, it can be a very cost effective resource to increase fertility levels. Use slurry on the farm as efficiently as possible, and top up with fertilizer as required. Aim to apply slurry and manures to fields that have high P and K requirements. Apply in cool and moist weather conditions to maximise N recovery.

2) Lime Apply lime as required to increase soil pH up to target pH for the crop. Soil pH should be the first thing to get right where soil test results indicate that lime is required. Lime should be applied to neutralise acidity and raise the pH. For mineral soils, a pH of 6.3 is recommended for grassland. The soil pH should be slightly higher for tillage crops. Acid soils will result in reduced nutrient release from soil, and poorer response to fertilizers. Apply lime as a priority in line with the lime advice.

5) Balanced nutrient supply If one nutrient is deficient, no amount of another nutrient will overcome this. For example, if a field is deficient in K, then excess N application will not be fully utilised. Make sure the fertilizer compound is supplying nutrients in the correct balance for the crop, the soil, and to complement other fertilizers being applied. Other nutrients such as Sulphur can play a very important role in a balanced fertilizer programme and should also be applied where necessary.

3) Target Index 3

maintaining soil fertility over time. These words were the conclusions made by Stan Lalor, Dr. David Wall and Mark Plunkett of Teagasc, Johnstown Castle in their paper presented at The Fertilizer Association of Ireland’s recent Spring Scientific Meeting. It was highlighted that managing soil fertility is about focussing on the key aspects of soil and nutrient applications, and setting targets for the farm. Mark Plunkett of Teagasc outlined 5 steps that should be followed to manage soil fertility.

Aim to have optimum soil P and K fertility levels in all fields. At optimum fertility levels, nutrients being removed in products need to be replaced. High fertility soils are a resource and should be exploited. Low fertility soils need to be nurtured. For soils in Index 3 the fertilizer program should be designed to replace the nutrients being removed, thus maintaining the soil fertility level. Index 1 and 2 soils are low, and require additional nutrients to increase the fertility levels. Index 4 soils arehigh, and present an opportunity to save money on fertilizer inputs by harvesting the resources in the soil.


pictured hands by Katja Berger


FARM Tillage

Irish Sugar This month’s CAP reform negotiations included a drive to secure progress toward reinstating the production of sugar in Ireland before 2020, resulting in the planned abolition of the quota system in 2017, three years less than what was voted on by the EU Parliament. Against a backdrop of rising prices, reports of shortages in some EU-member states and increased quantities devoted to bio-ethanol fuel production, particularly in Germany, efforts by Irish politicians in Europe and parties within the Irish sugar industry have begun to take shape. The ball started rolling following the 2010 EU Court of Auditors report which stated the Irish sugar industry was closed down at a time, in 2006, when it was profitable. A vote carried by 434-231 with 8 abstentions by the EU Parliament to extend the quota regime from 2015 to 2020 provoked ire of industry groups representing manufacturers such as Nestle.It was viewed by many MEP’s as the wrong signal to member states in the middle CAP reform. The vote set a mandate for Parliament to enter negotiations with the Commission, which is in favour of abolishing the quotas, and the Council of Ministers, representing member states both in favour of abolishing and extending sugar quotas.

of some member states and MEPs to seek an earlier date than 2020. There is a significant groundswell of support among farmers and others to restart the sugar sector in Ireland. Determination is strong; we need the right policy framework to allow that determination to succeed.’ Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South,

was optimistic Ireland would again have a sugar-beet quota and processing industry. ‘Things have been moving in the right direction for the Irish sugar industry. Securing the derogation in Europe was a huge step and BEET Ireland, which has done an enormous amount

Simon Cross, Brian Arnold , Michael Hoey, Chris Harmon, Jim O’Regan and Pat Cleary

Following the vote, Mairead McGuinness, MEP for Ireland East said there was a growing view that sugar quotas may be retained beyond 2015, but will be abolished before 2020. ‘There is a danger that if the quotas are held until 2020, it could fall into another set of reforms, hence the desire Beet Ireland meeting with An Taoiseach Nov 2012


FARM Tillage

Industry Revival of work, and has had a positive reaction from banks and producers.’ At the time of writing a draft proposal to abolish quotas by 2017 had been agreed upon. In an effort they say has cost the consortium up to €500,000 to date, BEET Ireland is confident political conditions will be suitable to begin a cooperative project heavily based on the Dutch model that includes 13-20 million litres of bio-ethanol per annum as by-product of the sugar production process and the pooling of machinery amongst producers. Paying close attention to the final outcome of EU negotiations, it is proceeding with plans to complete a project that will process

1.8 million tonnes of beet producing 250,000 tonnes of sugar per annum at maximum output. ‘We have a mandate from growers for a changed model,’ BEET Ireland Director Pat Cleary said, referring to 1200 declarations by sugar-beet producers gathered over the previous two years. With improved technology and yields reducing the cost of production, BEET Ireland maintains a minimum of €40 per tonne of sugar-beet can be attained.

site, to be officially announced within the weeks. A planning application is expected to be treated as a Strategic Infrastructural Act, allowing proposed development to bypass local authority decision process to An Bord Pleanala. Capital required for the investment is being raised through corporate investment, managed by investment bank and brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald, bank lending and subscriptions from producers. The exact amount of investment secured has not been publicly disclosed.

BEET Ireland says it has retained a planning consultancy with previous experience in sugar factory design and signed a confidentiality agreement with one local authority for a specific

Although a private enterprise backed by non-aligned to any farmers groups, reinstatement of the Irish sugar industry has received backing across the Irish political spectrum. “A revived indigenous sugar industry in Ireland has the potential to create 5,000 jobs. The industry could also be highly profitable, and would greatly assist struggling tillage farmers who rely on beet for their crop rotation and who have been pushed to their limits in recent months and years,’ Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Agriculture Eamon O’ Cuiv said on his website.

Beet harvest, picture by Evelyn Simak

However, the IFA, which represent sugar-beet producers, is seeking a guarantee of €55 per tonne before endorsing the project.


FARM Tillage

Eddie Power a poet, was born and reared in Tinnahinch, Co. Carlow. He lived there for the greater part of his life. He died in 1947 at the age of 46. His best known poems and songs include ‘The Deserted Village’ which deals with families living in the Hotel area of Tinnahinch in 1939. Here we recall ‘The Beet Song’. The final lines may explain why the country took a down turn in 2007. “And since we’ve started to grow sugar beet, We’ve made our old country even more sweet.” We better take Eddie’s advice and sweeten our country again.


written by Eddie Power of Tinnahinch,

Co. Carlow

FARM Tillage

Paul O’Sullivan, Journalist and B.Sc Earth Science, looks back at the impact at the loss of the sugar beet industry in Ireland and the refreshed struggle to revive it. A midweek evening in the conference room of the only hotel in a country town. There is an air of expectation and limited standing space. The audience is farmers, mostly, gathered to hear about the revitalization of an industry that used to be part of their livelihoods. I smile at hearing talk of a ‘campaign’. Growing up in rural Ireland, it was a word I mostly associated with WW2, The American Civil War or the television serial of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. So hearing it in reference to sugarbeet always sounded humorous. My own memories of the harvesting season are fond ones. During late autumn/early winter tractors pulling trailers muddied the roads and were the cause of many late or missed appointments. In purpose built concrete bays, machinery with shining fork prongs pushed the harvested crop into large mounds, ready for transportation to one of the three sugar refining factories. Harvesting of beet was part of the annual cycle.

There was public anger for reasons other than lost income: with the establishment of a national electricity grid, these factories were one of the first major construction projects after the foundation of the Irish State, symbolic of Ireland’s hard fought for sovereign and economic independence from Britain. Households could no longer purchase sugar in white packets trimmed purple that included the word ‘Irish’. On Monday morning of the 2007 October bank holiday weekend, I passed a man on the quays in Cork. He was drinking coffee from a flask at the boot of the car he had slept in all weekend, having just been to the jazz festival for the first time. In other years, he told me, he had been too busy for anything else other than the beet campaigns. Now, there wasn’t much to do, except tend to a small herd of cows on a family farm and facing an uncertain future he could not afford to splurge the redundancy money received. This, to me, was the human face of a lost industry. The period in Irish history that will be remembered in text books as Celtic

Tiger broke a debilitating economic cycle that had been in motion for decades. Domestic industries, such as fishing and sugar production, were forsaken for subsidies and creation of the high-tech and service dominant open economy. Successful homegrown industries can be an enriching source of national pride, but also remind us of the pain of ‘progress’. The revival of one of these industries will be viewed as economic regression or resurrecting. A close look at efforts to revive the sugar industry is a painful reminder of the factious elements within different industries in a relatively small country, exacerbated by a chasm in national politics bears little relevance to contemporary Ireland. Opinions are by alignment to interest groups, which makes objective facts and figures difficult to come by. Mind you, what happens within Ireland is more tolerable than the contortions and spaghetti tangles of EU bureaucracy. If the Irish sugar industry is revived it will be testament to the old adage that nothing of worth is achieved without hard work, which flies in the face of infighting and political machinations

In 2006, the last of these factories closed its doors to beet growers. As part of EU restructuring of the sugarbeet industry, farmers in Ireland and other smaller nation producers in Europe were compensated to relinquish this part of their livelihood. Newspapers printed photographs of half closed doors and beet lying on concrete. 33

FARM Machinery

TLB890 comes to town

The new Terex TLB890 will be centre stage at MP Crowley on 11th and 12th of April. The roadshow for the new backhoe loader will be held in the Cork City suburb venue. The loader was launched at the end of last year and has added to the extensive Terex range. Jon Beckley, Product Manager for Terex backhoe loaders said: “Through our research, we know our customers want their machine to dig deep, have excellent maneuverability and provide economic yet powerful performance - and they want to do this in comfort. With our new 890 model, we have met these requirements and more to help our customers achieve exceptional job site performance.” As part of the development process, Terex engineers challenged the TLB890 through extensive field evaluations in a variety of tough climatic conditions to test its components to the point of failure. The result is the new TLB890 backhoe loader which is designed to not only fulfill customers’ performance expectations but do so in combination with outstanding reliability and durability. Key to the TLB890’s performance is its new high-pressure hydraulic system, high-force cylinders and new boom design. These design improvements result in an impressive slew torque which provides powerful and quick backfill-


including externally replaceable wear pads on the extending dipper and stabiliser legs, and the cab entry steps can be detached from the fuel tank for repair or replacement. Terex have shown innovative designs to support driver comfort and maintenance. The TLB890 is sure to be a leader in its sector for years to come. ing particularly when working on cross slopes. The curved boom design also allows trucks to be positioned closer to the machine for short loading cycles and a new “Deep Dig” innerslide extending dipperstick delivers fast working cycles and high retraction force for rapid bucket filling. The TLB890 is equipped with a new cast iron hard nose counterweight which gives it additional damage protection for components at the front of the machine including the 100hp Perkins Stage IIIA engine. This proven power unit now boasts a new charge air system which improves low speed performance and reduces both fuel use and noise levels. The TLB890 offers many new maintenance and cost-reducing features,

FARM Forestry


FARM Forestry

FARM Machinery

by Maurice Healy from

Eddie Rabbitt owns Rabco Ag Ltd, who are based near Otautau in Southland, New Zealand. The operation works within a 60km radius of their base other than two large clients up to 100km away. On behalf of Grassroots Magazine, we sent Youtube sensation Mud6920 to catch up with Eddie. The mission was to find out about the outfit and the man behind it. What contracting activities do you do?

What lead you to become a contractor?

Our contracting duties include, Pit silage consisting of approx. 20,000 acres by both Pottinger wagons, Claas chopper and 40,000 round bales made mainly on steeper farmland.

Basically I saw an opening in our area for a baleage service making medium square bales for sheep farms so decided to buy a Case IH 8575 and work started from there.

We undertake re-grassing and all cultivations associated with small grains as well as direct drilling, slurry spreading both solid and liquid, land drainage and lane work. What was the first tractor you drove? The first tractor I drove was an old Farmall Cub my father had on our cropping farm at home. It was not much bigger than a tractor lawnmower but it left a lasting impression on me and gave me the bug for machinery that I still have today.


After a year or so I began ploughing for other cropping farms and about 10 years ago dairy came into the area in a big way and that saw a big swing for us to do silage making and land clearance. What was the first tractor you bought? My first tractor was a Case 7220 Magnum. It was a big lump of a tractor ideal for the hill country I was working on and it served me well. Probably one of the best tractors I have ever owned. What was your best buy? My best buy was probably the Pottinger loader wagons.

The farmers in the area absolutely love the chop they produce and it has led to a lot of extra work for me as a result. They are a simple machine that just keeps going and suit our system and terrain well.  What was your worst buy? Worst buy was probably a 10ft Vicon mounted mower. The thing was a time bomb that spent more time in the workshop than the paddock. We have since moved to Pottinger mowers and are very happy. They seem to cope well with the workload. If money was no object, what would you buy? I would like a farm, probably a large dairy farm. We are seeing massive demands for dairy products from China and other developing countries so in the future I would like to buy a farm and grow with the demand our industry is experiencing at the moment

FARM Machinery

FARM Forestry

What machinery is in your yard?




Shorten's Garage Main New Holland Dealers

FARM Forestry

Derrigra, Ballineen, Co. Cork

Ford 4100, New Rebuilt.

Harrow (New)

Ford 8210 '89

New Holland 548 Baler

Abbey 400HTL

David Brown 1290

Overum Plough

John Deere 6200 '96

TL90 with Tanco loader

Ford County Newly Rebuilt

Cavallo Fertiliser Spreader

Accord 4m Drill

New Holland TM155 '04

Quicke Q10.22

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News/ brief Irish food and drink exports have passed €9 billion for the first time and food exports to Asia have risen by 75 per cent since 2010, according to a new report from Bord Bia. The new figures build upon, and consolidate, the food industry’s exceptionally strong performance over the past three years, with exports currently valued at €2 billion, or 28%, ahead of 2009 levels. The strongest performing categories were meat and livestock (€3 billion), seafood (€493 million) and beverages (€1.26 billion).

European Cheese Event to be hosted in Cork The 5th European Farmhouse and Artisan Cheesemakers Congress will take place in Cork, Ireland in April of this year. The congress is a three day event, incorporating farm visits on Thursday the 25th, a conference on Friday the 26th and workgroups on Saturday the 27th. The venue is University College Cork and the organisers are CAIS, the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers.


The Congress will bring together producers, cheese technicians, health inspectors, academia and associated trade. This coming together has a common goal, to share knowledge and initiate collaborations across the farmhouse dairy sector. Dick Willems Snr of CAIS said “We are delighted to be able to host this event and are very much looking forward to giving everyone a very Irish welcome.”

Commenting on the figures, Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia stated “despite falling global commodity prices, lower output in some sectors and the continued weakness in consumer spending in established markets, the Irish food industry has delivered another robust export performance. The continued diversification into new and emerging markets, benefitting further from favourable exchange rates, is particularly welcoming with exports to Asia up by 75% since 2010.” Bord Bia Chairman Michael Carey added “Irish food and drink was a major contributor to the economy’s strong export performance in 2012 and I would like to commend the industry for its performance in what remains a challenging and competitive environment. Many of the major categories recorded increases, led by meat and livestock which increased by €128 million; seafood exports increased by 18%, or €75 million, while beverage exports recorded growth of €37 million.”

FARM Forestry


Food Farmers Markets

by Jason Webb

As the Farmers Market season begins to get into full flow in Ennis, we decided to take a look at the local delights County Clare has on offer each Friday. There are currently 17 distinctive stalls trading at the market where you will find the best local, organic and free range produce. This produce varies from the freshly baked goods and country butter to the terrines, fresh wheatgrass and wild garlic pesto. Ennis Farmers Market really does strive on quality food. The markets committee ensure that, where possible, all produce comes from County Clare or within a 30 mile radius. The committee also appoint a market controller to ensure all produce on display or sold in the market are of a consistently high quality & standard. These standards means customers at the market can buy with great confidence. Mary Gray sells breads, chutneys, jams, relishes and dressings at her stall. She praised the market by saying “The balance of the market means there


is a wide range of produce. This has attracted a loyal following of customers from Clare as well as Limerick and surrounding areas. There are customers arriving when we are still setting up before 8 in the morning and some produce is sold out by 10am.”

Mary is part of the markets committee. Looking forward into 2013 she said “We plan to host more events this year. In the past we have held harvest fairs, cooking demonstrations, live music and other events. They prove very successful so we will see what 2013 brings”

Food Farmers Markets

She continued “I have a passion for the idea of buying direct. I also love promoting good food. I love to see the local primary school children being brought into the market each Friday as a treat from the teachers. This can only do good in promoting good food.” Maria Mulcahy brings her Knockara Pate across the border from Tipperary each Firday. Maria’s products are a perfect example of the quality of produce at the Ennis Farmers Market. Knockara Pates received recent recognition with a John and Sally McKenna Award. Maria’s motto of “quality, purity, simplicity and tradition” has stood well for her and could also be used as the motto for the market itself. From the early start of 8am, the market takes place every Friday until 2pm in the aptly named Upper Market Car Park, Ennis.

Anybody interested in selling at Ennis Farmers Market can contact Maria on 087 9662659 for an application form.


FARM Home Food Forestry Cooking


FARM Forestry

Food Home Cooking

Find out more about Paul on



Food Grow Your Own

by Jackie W. B


The old Celtic festival of Imbolc, or St. Brigids day on the 1st of February, is one that causes green fingers everywhere to start twitching. The days are lengthening and the first spring flowers and birdsong are turning our thoughts to the land and what we might grow in the new season ahead. The earth’s natural energy is rising, giving us the energy to start new projects. For the novice vegetable grower, bursting with enthusiasm and ideas, there is much to learn. No matter how many books you read or how much inspiration you get from TV programmes, any experienced gardener will tell you it is all about trial and error. It takes time to get to know your own soil. The earth is a living thing, with its own moods and peculiarities and no two gardens are ever the same. Gardening is not just about producing flowers and vegetables.


In our frantically busy modern world the days are ruled by the clock so much so that many of us have forgotten what it is like to be quiet and at one with the earth Gardening on a small scale gives us back some of that. If there is one virtue above any other that gardening teaches us, it is patience. Nature cannot be rushed. There will be many failáures along the way (not just for novices mind, every gardener-even the very best- will have at least one crop fail per season). I like to think of it as Mother Nature’s way of telling us we are not as bloody smart as we think we are! In the series I will be discussing some of the basic points of starting your own vegetable garden and sharing some of the things I have learnt the hard way over the years. This month, soil.

Soil is everything- the basic element of the gardener’s world. It follows that the site of your vegetable garden needs to be chosen with care. It cannot be put in any odd spare corner. Be it big or very small the site should preferably be south facing with the sun on it for most of the day. You may be blessed with recently cultivated land with not too great a weed problem or you may be looking at a jungle. If it is the later, whatever you

Food Grow Your Own

Gardeners Year A Novices Guide To Fruit and Veg

ally clean that soil by hand digging and forking out every bit of root you see. Short term labour will produce long term gain, even if it does feel like torture at the time! Once clean- add organic matter. Well-rotted manure is best if you can get it. Bagged manures, chicken and the like from your garden centre work well also. Go easy on non-organic do, do not bring in a mechanical fertilizers; they can do more cultivator. It may seem to be the harm than good in inexperiquick and easy solution but all it enced hands. will do is chop all your perennial weed roots (scutch, dock, and Natural products are always bindweed) into tiny bits which best. Remember you are waiting for your soil to tell you what will all grow into new plants. it needs- at least one growing This will break your heart and season must pass before you put you off gardening for life really know. which is not the purpose of this column!

Start small with no more than one or two beds no bigger than 6 feet long by 3 feet wide. Re-

to germinate. Wait until April is well advanced before attempting to plant. Next month I will be discussing what you might grow and a few tips to help you achieve success.

Finally, do not be in too great a hurry to plant and sow. The year has been both very wet and cold, so nothing planted now will do well, and may fail


Food Grow Your Own


What you may not (want to) know about Grow Your Own fall. The structure lasted enough time for a few pea-plants to thrive, until a moderate south-easterly wind one night dismantled the entire thing permanently. I harvested what had been grown, took it home and ate the entire crop in two sittings. Even the most seasoned hands at the allotments concurred the year had been a terrible one. Two to the east, Liam said he couldn’t remember spending so much time picking slugs. They came up out of the ground like an invasion and made my cabbage plants look like someone had taken pot shots at leaves with an air-rifle. By the autumn my potatoes were the size of golf balls, cabbage heads the diameter of deflated footballs. Onions and peas didn’t get passed the embryonic stage. Frustrated by lack of progress, and determined to get a jump on the other growers around me, I invested in lengths of copper and Qual-PEX pipe and sheets of polythene plastic. One roll hadn’t the width to cover the frame of my makeshift poly-tunnel and making joins proved the down-


The experience wasn’t all bad. Broadbeans grew as they should, almost. I bought a wormery which reduces food waste and produces copious amounts of liquid compost (twenty-five litres in milk cartons if anybody’s looking to buy). Summer evenings were spent with men and women who talked about anything from root vegetables to will-making in the west of Ireland, but lacked any interest in discussions about economics and moguls that presently plague our towns and cities. An Englishman who used the grounds to exercise his birds of prey let me wear the hawker’s glove; I can now recommend the experience of having a bird of prey landing on your arm. Afterward, the hawk flew high up over the ground separating the allotments from the railway line, hovered and

went into a nosedive to collect some prey. But, ultimately, on the way to and from my green venture, I tried in vain not to calculate the total costing of taking on an allotment. The only way to make myself feel anyway good was to put it down to decent, practical experience, which it was. There aren’t many who criticise the concept of growing one’s own vegetables. To deride something so organic and communal practically amounts to green fingers sacrilege. More and more people are, justifiably, questioning the need to buy blemish-less beetroot from Bolivia when they can grow their own. Windowsills across the nation are decked with trays of herbs and salad leaves. On the fertile bank of Dublin’s Grand Canal carrots grow in the blackened soil. The grow-your-own movement is giving two green-fingers to the notion of globalised food supply. For sure, I’ll be back growing. Just not anytime soon; not until the memories of empty slug traps, decimated cabbage leaves and polythene pushed against the fence have subsided.

Food Small Holdings

Marans Marans are a breed of hen originating in France. They are a popular hen due to the fact they are a dual purpose fowl known both for its extremely dark eggs as well as for its very fine meat qualities. Black Copper (black with copper feathers on the neck) and Cuckoo (barred feathers, giving a black and white speckled appearance) are the most common Marans. Marans are generally quite a docile hen but they are quite active, taking well to living free range. They are also known for being tough and disease-resistant. They were originally bred in the marshy areas of France and can cope with damper conditions. Typically a Maran will lay between 150-190 eggs per year.


You[tube] should be watching - Family Guy

“Healthier Than a Horse “




ad run classic ro

Ballyedmond Vintage Club held a vintage and classic road run on Sunday, March 10th. The run was in aid of The National Council for the Blind. The photographed David Brown x is a 1977 model. The 72hp tractor is owned by Gavin Tomkins and was driven on the run by Victor Tomkins. The Tomkin family originally bought the tractor in 1992 and used it on a hedge cutter. It was sold out of the family in 1999 but was discovered in the local tractor breakers yard of Jim Gregan. Gavin bought it back into family ownership again and finished the restoration work in March 2012. Another tractor of Gavin Tomkin’s on the run was an International 475. The 1974 is powered by a 62hp Perkins 212 engine. Gavin bought the International in 2007. A new windscreen frame, paint job and a new axle rebuilt in 2011 is the only restoration done on this tractor. It was driven on the run by Jason Travers. Ballyedmond Vintage Club

images: Amanda Murphy


FARM Forestry Forestry FARM

The third annual Clare Diecast and Model Show will take place in the West County Hotel in Ennis, Co Clare on Sunday, 7th of April. The show is booked full to capacity with traders displays ranging in everything from farm, plant, trucks, cranes, trains, planes, rally dvds, tee shirts, jackets and many other items. There will be a charity raffle held on the day with loads of great prizes. There is also a display of 1:14 scale remote control trucks and a 1:5 scale remote control tank. Entry on the day is 5 euro and under 14s go free. Further details please contact Brian on 087 2914608, email or follow us on Facebook


Hobbies Farm Models

FARM Forestry

Clare C l a r e Diecast Diecast 3&&Model M o d e l Show Show rd

at West County Hotel Sunday 15th of April 2012 Ennis West County Hotel - from 11am to Co5 pm. Clare

Sunday April 7th from 10am to 6pm Also fore5 sale the day will be all types of Entry ~ on Under 14’s Free trucks, plant, cranes, farm equipment, cars, plus more

Loads To See And Buy

d2 Print T: 065 6868108

Displayed on the day will be trucks, heavy haulage, plant, cranes, farm equipment, rally cars, planes and all kinds of dioramas

Great for all the to see andlbuy for all ages From: lday Trucks l family Plantandlcollectors Farm promised l Trainsplenty l Planes Cars l Dolls Houses For l DVDs more infol Jackets l Tee Shirts lBrian Plus on Loads More contact 0872914608 | T: 065-6828367 | M: 086-6028367 or email Contact: Brian on 087 2914608 Email: Clare-diecast-and-model-show and follow us on facebook T: 065-6849961 | M: 086-8396182 ModelShowA5Flyer.indd 1

16/02/2012 15:57:30

New Model A new model released by Universe Hobbies in 2013 is the eagerly awaited Ford 5610 3rd Generation 2wd. The 1:32 model is part of their Country Collection. This will be followed by Marge Model’s 1st Generation 6610, which is coming out soon in both 4wd and 2wd editions. They will feature opening doors and additional weights and linkages. For details contact Brian 087 2914608 or mail to: follow us on Facebook 53


Hobbie Equestrian

Equestrian Pictured: At the Cheval ride at Drimoleague Co. Cork in aid of Skibbereen Community Hospital.

Con McGrath from Bantry with his horses Honey and Lightning. Picture Denis Boyl e

Aoife O’Neill from



Picture Denis Bo

Orla O’Driscoll and Caitlyn Hurley from Drimoleague with Pony “Leap Bla ze”.

Picture Denis Boyle

her Leah Kelleher from Ballingeary with e Boyl is Den re horse Cider. Pictu


Hobbie Equestrian

Annual road trotting races @ Old chapel Bandon Co Cork

Melissa Buttimore, Crossbarry and Nicole Moynihan, Bandon. Picture Denis Boyle

April Point to Point Diary

Pictured at the annual ploughing match at Cahermore Co Cork was Donal McC from Rosscarbery with his horses arthy Buddy and Sally. Picture Denis Boyle


Hobbies Entertainment

Pilgrim Jimmy Walsh (played by Joe Mullins) is farming in rural Ireland. Like the landscape he inhabits, his life is bleak and hard. Looking after an ageing sick father, life is passing him by as he comes to terms with his changing circumstances. Loneliness and isolation are his continual companions, along with his modest herd of cattle. Even in his lowest moments, it is with them that he is most himself and content. On a daily basis we join Jimmy as he moves almost invisibly through his local community and the fields that tie him down. People almost try to force their way into his life, but he keeps them at a distance by unconsciously failing to interact at a basic human level. A young twenty something neighbour is one of the only links he has to the real world with other people. In him he sees what he could have been, as he realizes what he is, a middle aged bachelor farmer with vanishing opportunities and on the verge of living the rest of his life alone on the side of a cold unnourishing hill. A final blow is dealt to Jimmy when it seems that life can’t get any worse. He is barely able to articulate his situation, yet his honesty and vulnerability speak to the loneliness that haunts the human condition in all of us. Directed by newcomer Gerard Barrett (Rising Star Winner IFTA 2013), PILGRIM HILL is his debut feature film and was shot when he


was 23 on a budget of €4,500 over seven days in Kerry. It premiered in July 2012 at the Galway Film Fleadh, where it was awarded Film of the festival by The Irish Times. It also screened in the London BFI Film Festival and had its North American premiere at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival where Gerard was selected as the next Great Expectation. Gerard explained what the movie meant to him personally “Pilgrim Hill, for me, was not about winning awards, being stylish or trying to be loud and stand out from the crowd. For me it was about telling the story of my aunt and uncle, who are both bachelor farmers living in rural Ireland. Ireland is spotted with these people all over our beautiful rural countryside and for

Hobbies Entertainment


in cinemas on April 12th

me, I wanted to tell their story.” Finding the ideal location for the movie was not easy. Gerard said “Then I had to find a small farm and that was the toughest of the whole production process. There are Jimmy Walsh (played by Joe Mullins) is farming in rural Ireland. Like the landscape he inhabits, his life is bleak and hard. Looking after an ageing sick father, life is passing him by as he comes to terms with his changing circumstances. very few small farms left in Ireland as in one that would farm maybe twenty cows. So again I searched all over Kerry and Limerick and then I came across this beautiful little farm in Ballylongford. I think it was fitting.” Gerard had a vision for what the message of the movie was. He followed this plan closely as he explains “I really wanted to explore loneliness and isolation to the core. I wanted to go deep with it and visually show the quietness of these people’s lives. To be honest with you, I don’t think any funders would have allowed me to do it the way I did it. I guess that was a freedom that I had by financing it myself. I think it ultimately paid off with audiences and festivals. It was something different and fresh. It’s own thing.”


Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

Career in Agriculture With advancing technologies, strong job opportunities and new dairy expansion prospects on the horizon, a career in agriculture seems to be back in fashion in Ireland. CARLY DOLAN reports. As this year’s college applications role in, agriculture is again proving to be a popular course choice, with a 6.6 per cent increase on last year’s numbers. It follows a large upsurge year-onyear over the past four years, with renewed interest in farming as a career. But it wasn’t always like that. During Ireland’s property boom, thousands of children from farming families reaching adulthood were marking out a career in the thriving construction industry, and six years ago, some agricultural colleges in the country were facing closure. So what is it that’s driving young Irish people back to the land? According to Ireland’s agriculture

image: Kildalton College

and food development authority, Teagasc, the medium to long-term prospects in the agri-food industry globally and the downturn in the domestic economy have been major players in this changing attitude. The abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 is also adding to the renewed interest in the industry. And in an age where new technologies are driving the industry forward, it is an exciting time for young people to get into farming. “We are living in very challenging times. At times like these, the importance to the Irish economy of

our indigenous industries in the agri-food sector and horticulture is more appreciated,” a spokesman for Teagasc said. “Young people with the appropriate skills and education are well positioned to avail of careers, which will be rewarding and challenging.” For those young adults who do not want to be forced to emigrate in search of work, farming is one of the few career paths with good work prospects here at home. But there are also strong career opportunities overseas for Irish people who have a qualification in agriculture. So, in 2013, as teaching, arts and medicine college applications decrease, agriculture, horticulture, science and business have become the popular frontrunners in Irish education. image: Ballyhaise College

Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

Crossmahon-Bandon Macra organised a 24 hours ploughing fundraiser in aid of the West Cork Rapid Response and St.Patricks Marymount Hospice in Cork. The event took place in a twenty one acre field in Crossmahon, west of Bandon in Co. Cork. The wet late February weather delayed proceedings for the original date by a week but this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the ploughmen and ploughwomen. The number who registered interest in ploughing was more than double what was required.

Pictured overlooking the Crossma hon/Bandon Macra 24hr Ploughathon was Sine ad Long, Susan Cahalane, Karl Knapman, Wes t Cork rapid response and Kathlean Lucey, Pictu re Denis Boyle

The large crowd that turned up on the day bought ploughing slots, raffle tickets and some gave generous donations. The total raised was €6,000 from the ‘round the clock’ ploughing and the concluding celebrations. This fundraiser, and the media coverage around it, has firmly put the new Carbery region macra club on the map.

Pictured at the Crossmahon/Bando n Macra 24hr Ploughathon on Saturday was Mac ra national presidential candidate Aisling Lew is from Michelstown. Picture Denis Boyle


Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

Possible As the Macra national elections approaches, we speak to the candidates for National President. The election will take place in the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin on the 9th April 2013 and the elected candidates will take up office at the Macra AGM on the 11th May 2013. Aisling Lewis Aisling, a 25 year old process engineer, is a member of Mitchelstown Macra. She has been a member of Macra for over 7 years and has held various positions at club and regional level. In 2004, Aisling joined the Ballyhoura branch where she served as secretary from 2009-10. She was one of 10 people who reformed Mitchelstown Macra in May 2010. She served as chairperson of the club from 2010-2012 and PRO thereafter. She has held the positions of Competitions Chairperson and Development Officer in Avondhu where 3 new clubs were developed since 2011. She has also served on Macra’s National Competitions Committee. Aisling was Chairperson of the Mitchelstown club who scooped the Best Emerging Club title at the Rally in 2011 and runners up in the overall competition. In 2012, Aisling also lead to the club to the final 7 of the competition. With her clubs she has taken part in numerous competitions. She represented Avondhu in Miss Blue Jeans in 2009, reached the national debating final with Mitchelstown in 2011 and 2012. She competed with Mitchelstown in Capers and Drama for the first time in 2012. Highlights for Aisling in Macra include her silver leadership award in 2011


and her gold leadership award in 2012. She was one of three winners of Bank of Ireland Macra National Leadership Awards earlier this year. Last September she, along with 7 other members from her club, took on the challenge of climbing the 4 highest peaks in Ireland climbing over 11,000 feet in 3 days and raised over €3000 for Focus Ireland. In September 2011, Aisling was awarded a Gold Gaisce Award for her community and club achievements by President Mary McAleese. Aisling is now a President’s Award Leader for her community. Aisling is a member of the Mitchelstown Forum an umbrella organisation for voluntary organisations within the town. She has worked closely with the Mitchelstown branch of the Lions Club promoting their fundraising events. She is an equine enthusiast having represented her school, university and local club in show jumping and other equestrian disciplines. Aisling has received two sports awards from University College Dublin. She has been a member of Ballygiblin Church choir since 2009. Aisling was chosen to participate in Women Into Science & Engineering (WISE) in UCC in 2004. She has a Grade V Certificate in Speech and Drama. She has also completed four tetrath-

Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

lons competing in swimming, shooting, cross-country running and horseriding.

so something along the lines of that!

Grassroots Magazine caught up with Aisling in the middle of her campaign hustings to ask the questions that everybody else had forgot to ask.

A: The sense of freedom, the fresh air.

Q: Describe words




A: Outgoing, under pressure, keen to try new experience…that’s not really three words is it!! Q: Sum up your campaign policies in the least amount of words possible A: Progressive, focus on the sustainable future of the organistation and member focus. Q: If you were to talk to yourself in the mirror what advice would you give? A: Relax! Q: If you were to do one job on a farm all summer, what job would be? A: Milking, it’s very therapeutic. Q: If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you and why? A: Penelope Cruz, I’d love to look like her. Q: What is the worst thing that was written about you in a school report? A: I was very chatty in primary school

Q: What is better about rural living as opposed to urban living?

Q: What is your greatest achievement in Macra? A: Probably being a founder member of the Mitchelstown club. Q: What would happen if you ruled the world? A: It would be very, very organised. Q: Describe your perfect day. A: Sunny, stroll around without willies, nice food would feature and go on a horse up the mountains.

Kieran O’Dowd Kieran O’Dowd is from Gurteen, a small village in Sligo. He attended Mullaghroe National School and St. Nathy’s Community Secondary School in Ballaghadereen. Kieran graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) Degree from Institute of Technology, Sligo. Kieran also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting from Dublin Institute of Technology. After completion of his Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting Kieran joined Investors Funds Services as a Fund Accountant based in Dublin for two years. Never one to rest on his laurels Kieran studied for


Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

a Diploma in Legal Studies at night in the Honorable Society of Kings’ Inns while working full-time as a fund accountant. After returning to Sligohe went onto work in the family business O’Dowd Farm Machinery and Car Sales and also as an accounts assistant in Tynan Dillon & Co. Chartered Accountants Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. During this time he completed his legal training and was called to the bar in 2008. Presently Kieran practises as a barrister on the Midlands Circuit and also works part-time in the Michael Coleman Heritage Centre as public relations and events organiser. Kieran first joined Macra in 2004 and held various club and county positions. Kieran became National Council Representative for Sligo in 2007 and the following year was elected to National Executive and served as National Treasurer from 2009 to 2011. After successfully contesting the North West Vice Presidentential Election in 2011 he went onto be elected National Chairperson the same year. He represents Macra na Feirme on the board of the National Youth Council of Ireland serving as Treasurer of the National Youth Council of Ireland from 2009 - 2011. In addition to the foregoing, Kieran serves/served on many local committees including Craobh Coleman Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Gurteen Games Company, Ceolaras Coleman, Gurteen Development Association, Gurteen Agricultural Show Committee, Gurteen Irish Farmers Association Branch, Gurteen Festival Committee.


Kieran is married to Caroline Marren, who he met at a Macra County Dinner Dance in 2008. They were married in July 2010. Caroline is an active member of Macra in Sligo, she is the Chairperson of the South Sligo Club and County Sligo Public Relations Officer.

size and stature.

Grassroots Magazine caught up with Kieran at the start of a busy weekend of campaigning to ask the questions that everybody else had forgotten to ask.

Q: What is better about rural living as opposed to urban living?

Q: Describe words




A: Fair, honest and approachable Q: Sum up your campaign policies in the least amount of words possible

Q: What is the worst thing that was written about you in a school report? A: Needs to pay more attention, because I would be talking down the back of the class

A: I suppose the main thing that is better is you don’t have to be stuck in traffic jams all day. Q: What is your greatest achievement in Macra? A: Being elected North West vice president in 2011 was my greatest achievement. Q: What would happen if you ruled the world?

A: I hope that my campaign policies will benefit the majority of Macra members both the rural young people and the farmers.

A: Hopefully it would be a happier and more efficient place.

Q: If you were to talk to yourself in the mirror what advice would you give?

A: Get up in the morning, sun is shining; don’t have to go to work. Just travelling around the countryside, meeting people in a nice relaxed way.

A: I wouldn’t normally talk to myself in the mirror, but I suppose I would tell myself to think positive. Q: If you were to do one job on a farm all summer, what job would be? A: Driving a tractor cutting silage. Q: If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you and why? A: Tom Cruise because we’re similar

Q: Describe your perfect day.

Rural Interest Youth/ Macra


Vice President The Munster Vice President candidates in the upcoming elections are Michael Moclair from Ballinlough, Lisronagh, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary and James Healy from Kilmartin, Donoughmore, Co. Cork. Grassroots Magazine made sure we found out the most important information in an indepth interview with both men. Well, not really. We asked them the same stupid questions as the Presidential candidates.

Michael Moclair The most important information anyone would need to know about Michael is that he can multitask. This interview was carried out while he was shaving in preparation for one of the campaign hustings. For this reason, we are willing to forgive the lack of ability to count with regards to the first question. Q: Describe yourself in three words. A: Passionate, enjoyable, and able to have a laugh Q: Sum up your campaign policies in the least amount of words possible. A: Munster Forum, young farmer issues, positive mental health, Macra promotion issues. Q: If you were to talk to yourself in the mirror what advice would you give? A: Pinch myself! Q: If you were to do one job on a farm all summer, what job would be? A: Reseed Q: If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you and why?

A: Jamie Fox, I’m told I look like him at times! Q: What is the worst thing that was written about you in a school report? A: I didn’t pay attention to my reports too much, but I used to talk a lot in class Q: What is better about rural living as opposed to urban living? A: You can shout and roar out the fields and no one is going to care Q: What is your greatest achievement in Macra? A: Achieving the Stephen Cullinane Scholarship in 2004 Q: What would happen if you ruled the world? A: There would be a permanent holiday! Q: Describe your perfect day A: After everything going wrong, you know it only has to get better.

James Healy James credits Macra for changing a shy and quiet teenager into somebody who can run for a major organisation election. When Grassroots Magazine

caught up with James, he was armed with answers for whatever question we could throw at him, so we threw theseQ: Describe yourself in three words A: Hardworking, loyal and team player. Q: Sum up your campaign policies in the least amount of words possible. A: Evolution not revolution Q: If you were to talk to yourself in the mirror what advice would you give? A: It’s the things that you don’t do that you regret. Q: If you were to do one job on a farm all summer, what job would be? A: Drawing silage! Q: If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you and why? A: Danny Devito, because he is probably the closest person in physical stature to me. Q: What is the worst thing that was written about you in a school report? A: Did not try hard enough. Q: What is better about rural liv63

Rural Interest Youth/ Macra

ing as opposed to urban living? A: Community spirit. Q: What is your greatest achievement in Macra? A: Being part of a team that reached the national Capers final 2 years in a row Q: What would happen if you ruled the world? A: I won’t declare world peace just yet!! But maybe we would all get on a bit better. Q: Describe you’re perfect day. A: Going for a cycle in the morning, a nice sunny day and then spending it with friends and those close to me. Just a nice relaxing day I suppose.

Rural Interest Buisness

Jason Webb

E Coli Outbreak

A farm in Surrey UK, has been found solely liable for E Coli damages in 2009. There were 93 people ill after the E Coli outbreak. 76 of those affected were children under the age of 10. The farm in question was a petting farm run by owner Richard Oatway. In an English High court on the 1st of March, lawyers for the farm said its insurers admitted liability in 2011 and individual claims made by the victims were being processed. It is believed the farm could now a owe millions of pounds to victims of the potentially fatal E Coli 0157 strain. Jill Greenfield, a lawyer for 30 of the victims said “The Highcourt made it very clear that the farm has ultimate responsibility- it can’t try to pass this on to other authorities”. She also added that some of the victims had suffered with “renal problems that will be lifelong” and that “each case had to include a provision that could allow it to reopen if any victims went on to suffer kidney failure in later life”. This is one of dozens of illness outbreaks in the U.S. and Europe over the past two decades in petting farms and zoos including

at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina caused an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 106 people and killed 2-yearold Gage Lefevers.

E. coli O157:H7 along with Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to illness from infected animals at petting zoos, where they spread bacteria through faecal bacteria on the ground or in their fur or saliva.

In October 2012, a petting zoo

Open farms in Ireland are follow-

ing these cases closely and are continuing to take precautions. E coli bacteria

picture source:


Rural Interest By- Gone Days

by Victoria Deane


Growing up I have been around many the long yarn about “the good aul days”. To me most of it seemed just like a lot of hard work. I could not understand why anyone would reminisce so fondly of such times. Milking cows by hand, men carrying bags that weighed more than the man himself. I have to say my opinion has changed since talking to John Bosco McMahon, better known as Bosco. A Kerry man hailing from Lisselton, Ballybunion with many a story to tell of those good old days. As the phone rings to arrange an interview I expect Bosco to ask me to call him back later that evening when he has more time to talk properly. Instead I am greeted with a warm and friendly “how’s the form girl?”. He is more than willing to talk to me and “shur now is as good a time as any” he says with a laid back tone that is so refreshing in today’s hectic life style. Bosco was born in 1946 on church road Ballybunnion, in one of the oldest houses in the locality known as Hewson Villa or Ballybunion House. “My grandfather bought it when he came back from Australia off the Landlord, George Hewson”. This property included a farm of 50 acres of land by the sea overlooking Ladies Strand and Men’s Strand. An idyllic setting you could say. But also a place where many a long day was spent working hard on the dairy and tillage farm. I am curious to find out how mechanisation changed farming for the McMahon farm. I assumed it would have made life a lot easier and would have


been a change that was greatly welcomed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Bosco recalls “we worked the horse here into the late 60’s, there was 30 acres of tillage done with horses when I was young because after the war there was compulsory tillage”. Due to the shortage of imports all farmers were subject to the Compulsory Tillage Order. Every farmer had to till a certain amount of his land and sow, in particular, a certain acreage of wheat and all this was policed by government inspectors. Bosco describes for me in detail the work he remembers doing with the horse “I cut the hay with them and

Rural Interest By- Gone Days

Recalls ploughed, I didn’t work the binder with them but I saw my father work the binder”. The next subject is one I am more familiar with hearing stories about, the thrashing. I notice the enthusiasm with which Bosco speaks of this event. “There was a thrasher and a steam engine bought very early on by my grandfather, shur he had a few bob so he bought it”.

Boscos grandfather used to rent out his thrasher to the neighbours. Incredibly, Bosco recalls how his grandfather used to pull the thrasher with two horses and drive it with the steam engine. This was explained to me later, in the early days of thrashing the engines weren’t self-propelled so it was needful that the horses would pull it. “The thrashing was a big thing, ‘twas

the biggest day of the year.” Bosco recalls how the neighbours would all follow after the thrashing from “haggard to haggard for a good few miles” everyone lending a helping hand. Of course they would be rewarded for all their hard work with a big party that night. “There would be dancing and music and singing and


Rural Interest By- Gone Days

a few ‘oul bottles of stout and a few yarns told”. Before the thrashing took place each year, the horse would have to be taken to the forge. “The day at the forge was a mighty day because you’d have the yarns and you’d hear a fella giving a bar of a song and they would be talking about the harvest and getting ready for the thrashing.” This is another event that unfortunately ceased once the horse left the farm. “I’ll tell you one thing, ‘twas a very sad day when the horse left the farm.” I ask Bosco his opinion of mechanisation and when the horse went out of fashion. He sombrely replies “shur it ruined everything”. I now realise that while machinery made the work lighter, it unfortunately took with it the true meaning of community. When machinery came in, it made everyone much more independent. “The only thing the tractor did do was make work easier,but it took away the social side of life” says Bosco. Farmers no longer relied on neighbours and that lovely sense of good will. While a day at the thrashing meant toiling hard for long hours, it also meant everyone working together. With modernisation people think it brings a better standard of living. But now I am beginning to question that. Have we lost sight of what is really important? Friendship, neighbourliness, and caring for those around us. I think of my own experience growing up in rural Ireland in the 90’s. Unfortunately there are a lot more of my neighbours that I don’t know than the ones I do. I am finally starting to understand why people reminisce so fondly of those good old days.


FARM Forestry

Bosco’s Yarn

“I was lucky one evening there, ‘shur tis years ago now, I was getting the mule and the genet ready for a vintage show the following day. I was getting them ready for a long time practicing them on a forage stone, a big ‘oul forage stone.” “The time came to put on them onto the machine, so I put them on the mowing machine for the first time ever. I thought I had them going well. Peter my son was with me, he was only young at the time. Anyway Peter opened the gap for me and I pulled out into the field, well shur when I put it into gear, peowwww! Away with them, they did a few rounds of the fields before I got them under control. In the finish anyway when they were tiring I headed them in where there was no dyke only a white thorn hedge and I buried them inside in it. Feck it they broke the main part of the machine and I wanting it the next morning. Anyhow I got a part that night off another machine of the same make and I got it put onto it the next morning.” “I cut an acre of oats with them the next day at the vintage in Kilflin. Shur no one would ever have known there was a bad crash the evening before. Well I’ll tell you one thing, they wouldn’t have let me into the vintage if they had seen what had happened the evening before because if they took off like that in the vintage they could have caused fierce harm. I made sure and had a man on each of their heads when I was doing the first few rounds. I had them going very well at that stage”

Rural Interest Health

When was the last time you had some “me time”? In today’s hectic society getting some time to yourself may seem unrealistic. In farming life the four season’s timetable seems to dictate our life. Spring time is welcomed with the grass starting to grow again, but with this also comes the hectic period that is calving time/lambing season etc. By the time summer comes around the grass is well grown and it’s full steam ahead into the silage. Next up is harvest time arriving in all its hustle and bustle glory. After all this wouldn’t it be lovely to sit back and relax, but instead you have to get stuck into the hardship that is the winter. So where is there time to unwind and relax you ask? The answer is simple; you have to make the time. “Your health is your wealth” we often here. So take care of it. The impor-


tance of having a break and finding time to yourself is more significant than we realise. Want to be more productive? So the solution is keep your nose to the grindstone because the more time you put in, the more you’ll get done, right? Wrong. A growing body of evidence shows that taking a break every now and again from our daily routine improves our mental wellbeing by reducing stress, relaxing us and increasing productivity when we do return to the daily grindstone. It has been instilled into us for as long as we can remember to “work hard and you will reap the rewards”. While this of course is true, it is also true that monotonously working away will not achieve the desired results.

A break doesn’t even have to mean packing your suitcase and heading off. Look at your surroundings, living in the country is a privilege that people take for granted. We live in beautiful surroundings and perhaps it’s time to see them as more than just fields that need to be worked. Go for a walk; take time to breath in that fresh air. Listen to the birds singing. This alone time can help us to unwind. It gives our body and mind time to slow down. Studies have shown that exposure to green space reduces stress, boosts health and makes us less vulnerable to depression. The findings come from the brain scans of 32 healthy volunteers from urban and rural areas. The peace and relaxation we can find is closer to home than we think.

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Grassroots Magazine April 13  

Ireland's free magazine for the farm, food and rural interest sectors.

Grassroots Magazine April 13  

Ireland's free magazine for the farm, food and rural interest sectors.