Niall O’Mahony

Crookstown, Co. Cork
My family have farmed our land in Crookstown, Co. Cork for nearly one hundred years, my great-grandfather bought the farm in 1923 and founded the beef and dairy herds.
I began farming fulltime, alongside my father, once I had finished my leaving cert and my father still works beside me today, at ninety-six years of age!
The original farmhouse, Crookstown House, was built in the 1750s and some of the trees that line the avenue through the farm and up to the house date back to that time. There was originally beech on one side and elm on the other, with some oak scattered between, but we lost the elms to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Our farm has changed a little in the years since my great grandfather worked, mostly in the machinery we use. The technology today just makes everything so much more efficient, and it means that one man can now do a job that used to take five.

The Hereford breed has been part of our farm since day one, with a love of the breed being passed down from each generation. I bought my first calf, which was a Hereford, at just thirteen years old and I have had Hereford cattle ever since. There are many reasons why I choose to farm Herefords, but the main ones would be how quiet and easy to manage they are, and how well they thrive. Their gentle nature makes them a pleasure to be around, and it means that life is easier for all of us who handle them.

We have our Hereford herd and our small dairy herd grazing across the farm for most of the year. When we need to bring them indoors, during the winter months, I feed them a mix of silage (cut from our farm), barley and protein in the form of distiller’s grains, which I source form a distillery in Midleton. We work hard on our farm to ensure a high level of biodiversity and environmental growth and health. We keep our streams clean by fencing the cattle away from them, we have reduced the use of weed sprays on our grassland, and we top and strim our hedges by tractor instead of cutting them back. We are very proud of the number and variety of heritage trees on our land, we have horse chestnut, oak, beech, Japanese chestnut, lime, sycamore, ash, scots pine, alder and some holly trees. We plant new trees every year and any that are cut down are used by local producers for wood turning and even whiskey barrels.

"We work hard on our farm to ensure a high level of biodiversity and environmental growth and health."

I have been involved with Irish Hereford Prime for twenty years and have been chairman for ten. I believe that Irish Hereford Prime is extremely important for Hereford farmers as it not only helps them with advice and subsides (including soil, silage and slurry testing) when needed, it also markets the beef to the customer, highlighting the care and attention to detail our farmers give to their Hereford stock, and explaining why this beef is worth that little bit more. My family are a great help around the farm, especially my daughter Caoimhe, who has a real interest in the Hereford cattle. We all love the flavour and quality of Hereford Beef, but my
favourite cut has to be a T-bone, it gives the best of both worlds, with some fillet and some striploin. A T-bone, it gives the best of both worlds, with some fillet and some striploin. A T-bone steak cooked medium rare with onions would have to be my ideal dinner!

"A T-bone steak cooked medium rare with onions would have to be my ideal dinner!"

Consumers choose excellence

Surveys confirm that customers prefer beef from grass-fed cattle and are willing to pay more for it. With its flavour, tenderness and consistency, Certified Irish Hereford Prime delivers an eating experience that turns any meal into a truly memorable event.

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