Farmers from around the country received the 2018 RDS Spring Awards at a ceremony in Ballsbridge earlier this week, with new awards recognising the genetic merit of the best beef and dairy herds. The theme running throughout the awards was on climate-smart agriculture, particularly the need for farmers to be more scientifically aware in their decision-making around breeding, as well as being more open to afforestation.
Brendan Meade from Whiteleas Farm on the Meath-Dublin border took the inaugural RDS Dairy Herd Award. Brendan’s farm is a model spring-calving system built on good breeding, high grass utilisation and a labour-conscious system. Brendan was an early adopter of Economic Breeding Index (EBI) as he saw that “it was the first-time science was applied to breeding.” He has the best combination of EBI, Calving interval and 6-week calving rate performance based on herds which are members of HerdPlus and Genotyping young dairy females.
Genetic Index Awards 2018
The winner of the inaugural RDS Beef Herd Award was Richard Fortune, Knottown, Co. Wexford. Richard received the 2013 RDS Maternal Index Award for his outstanding Salers cow Usance. His winning beef herd have an average €uro-Star replacement index of €192, an average calving interval of 375 days, and an average calves/cow/year rate of 1.03/calves/cow/year.
The RDS Economic Breeding Index Award went to James Lynch, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, for Cappasouth Cuddy Leo who is the highest EBI Genotyped cow currently in the country. The winner of for 2018 is While Jonathan Harte from Templeboy, Co. Sligo, the RDS Euro-Star Index Award for High Clue Amelia who is the top Euro-Star replacement index Piedmontese cow in the country with a Euro-Star value of €207.
Teagasc Farm Forestry Award
Andrew O’Carroll, Rathcash, Clifden, County Kilkenny was awarded the inaugural Teagasc Farm Forestry Award. Andrew farms a total of 140 acres of which 47 acres are in forestry. The forest was planted in 2005. It is in three blocks all of which contain the same species mix – 80% Sitka Spruce, 15% Japanese larch and 5% alder. In 2005, Andrew was considering options for his farm’s long-term income financial security and he decided to plant some of his poorer quality agricultural land. This land was on higher ground than the rest of the farm and had a shorter grazing season. With the money generated from the 20-year guaranteed premium, he rented an equivalent amount of good agricultural land on a long-term lease.
RDS Champion of Champions 2018: Irish Angus - Michael & Niamh Barron; Irish Aberdeen Angus - Matchett family; Irish Charolais - Michael J. Quin; Irish Hereford - John and Frank Appelbe; Irish Limousin - Owen Hester.
Genetic Index Awards 2018: Euro-Star Replacement Index - Jonathan Harte; Economic Breeding Index - James Lynch; Beef Herd Award - Richard Fortune; Dairy Herd Award - Brendan Meade.
Forestry Awards: Community Woodlands -Runner Up -Teagasc Ballyhaise College; Community Woodlands -Winner - Colin Glen Forest Park; Multipurpose Forestry RU - Hilton Park; Multipurpose Forestry W - Curraghchase Forest Park; Production Forestry RU - Colm Foy; Production Forestry W - Ashling Minnock; Teagasc Farm Forestry Award RU -Thomas Duffy; Teagasc Farm Forestry Award W - Andrew O’Carroll.
Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS said:
“Climate change and food security are two of the most important issues of this century and will have severe long-term consequences. Ireland has a responsibility in both areas. To be smart and effective in the way we produce higher quality food, and to be responsible and diligent in tackling our greenhouse gas emissions.”