Lisa Corcoran

Lower Graigue, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
The Corcoran family have been farming this land in Lower Graigue, Thurles, Co Tipperary from the 1700s.
Our house was built in the early 1800s and my dad, who is 91 this year, has worked on this farm since he was a young boy. We have 160 acres in total and while we used to have both sheep and dairy, we now focus solely on beef animals. We still have a couple of horses here and there has been for generations, my dad would have ploughed with them many years ago.
We have a weanling to beef system, I source the majority of the calves from my cousin and the rest I buy as a single group from a supplier that I met via the Kepak Twenty20 club, of which we are members. I like to limit the number of source farms for my weanlings to limit the disease risk.
We have always had Herefords on the farm running alongside our dairy herd and it has always worked for us. I think they are a good all-round breed, so if we don’t want to keep them all for finishing, they are always a very saleable animal. As a docile breed they are very easy for my dad to manage, now that he is getting older.

“They are just easier fleshed and easy managed, allowing us to finish them between 21 and 27 months of age”

We like to have our cattle out grazing as early as possible, our land is sloped and free draining, so it means that it dries quickly. We have an extensive grazing system on the farm that we have perfected over the years. We take soil samples every two to three years to help keep the land in optimal condition for growing grass efficiently. In the future, we plan to also test silage to maintain performance of our Hereford animals all year round.

At the moment we are part of the Results-Based Environmental-Agri Pilot Project (REAP). REAP is an agri-environment pilot project that rewards farmers to maintain and improve the environmental conditions of their land with a focus on improving existing farm features more so than the creation of new features and habitats.

We have land that is in the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme which provides support to people farming land in designated disadvantaged areas. It aims to support the continuation of farming in these areas by compensating farmers for the additional costs involved in farming such land.

I am a medical and pharmaceutical devices quality engineer by trade, and I work on the farm alongside my dad. I studied Pharmaceutical Analysis & Quality Management Systems in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and then followed up with Regulatory Affairs & Drug Licencing in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). I also got my Agricultural Green Cert in the college in Pallaskenry. I am the oldest of three daughters and I have two daughters of my own, Laura and Saoirse. My husband Ronan is an electrician and is a vital part of our farm as he keeps on top of all the maintenance.

In my spare time I play GAA, tag rugby and squash, although with work, the farm and two young kids I don’t have all that much spare time anymore. Heading into the future I can see some challenges coming our way, input prices (even operating a low input system) and farm gate prices are all worries. We will concentrate on staying as efficient as possible to keep our farm running smoothly.