Gortrua Farm, New Inn, Co. Tipperary is owned and managed by Michael Hickey, who inherited the enterprise from his uncle in 1981.
The 100-acre holding – which is now a mixed farm – has been in the family for the past 200 years.
“Originally, we had cattle and horses here and now we concentrate mainly on Aberdeen Angus cattle,” explained Hickey who maintains a grass-fed closed herd and has a number of horses.
“Traditionally, for the last 35-38 years, we have sold organic beef. The management here is mainly extensive – we don’t use any pesticides, fertilisers, ect.”
“When I came here, I gave myself three rules – to have no debt, to run it organically and to err on the side of nature.” the Tipperary native added.
The Farming for Nature ambassador has a variety of habitats on his farm including seasonally flooded grasslands, fen areas, pastures and meadows; Michael manages his field boundaries as habitats.
“We top the field before it actually needs it because I am of the opinion that the toppings cause a fermentation on the surface of the soil which allows the bacteria to multiply and to bring up phosphates from the deeper levels of the soil.”
“For me, as I grow older, I become more interested in nature, and everything about the things that I see around enhances my world – that to me is the reason why I farm in the manner that I do.” Michael concluded.