Eamon Fahy

Ballinderry, Co. Tipperary
I am lucky enough to farm in a beautiful part of Ireland at Drominagh, Ballinderry on the banks of Lough Derg in Co. Tipperary. I’ve been here since 2003 and we started farming Herefords in 2005.
I really enjoy working with the Hereford breed. They are docile and gentle, but strong animals that deliver a premium product at the end of the day. They do very well on good grass, which is an aspect of farming that I am particularly interested in.
Last year I sowed a multi-species grass sward, which was innovative at the time. I decided to give it a go and see what kind of results I would get.
The idea of multi-species is that it varies the root systems in the ground, it picks up a lot of vitamins and minerals because some of the species are deeper rooted than others. This is also advantageous in dry weather conditions as some species can draw moisture from deeper in the soil. We have perennial ryegrass, we have fescue grass, we have red and white clover, and chicory and plantain. The chicory and plantain are the more obvious species and are the tallest in the sward. I am very happy with the results. It works very well for grazing and also for baling. It makes an extremely high quality bale that is higher in protein than a normal ryegrass bale, so it will give me extra live weight gain through the winter.

Growing this type of grass has meant that I can cut down on the amount of artificial fertilizer used on the farm. It needs little or no nitrogen because the clovers ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air and so help to promote high growth rates, while really fending for themselves. I see this as being a far more sustainable option and its evolving year on year, so that in the future I hope the farm will have no need for spreading any additional nitrogen at all.

“My Hereford herd has thrived on this grass, and I plan to continue with this type of grazing and winter feeding going forward.”

The multi-species sward is also a great benefit to pollinators and bees so it enhances the whole ecology of the farm. It is a very natural way of producing high quality feed to get the animals to produce well at the back end of the year.

I am proud to be an Irish Hereford Prime Producer, using a traditional breed that is easy to manage and gives me a premium product.