Join us for our next Ask the Farmer Q&A session on the 25th January 2022 at 8pm through Zoom on ‘Moving from intensive tillage to profitable biological farming’ with Meath farmer Louis McAuley. Register here: https://bit.ly/AsktheFarmerLMc
Louis McAuley and his family manage a 1700-acre farm in county Meath. Approximately 1400 acres of the land is used for cereal production such as winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape, beans and oats. All of the cereal grown on the farm goes to their feed mill where they produce animal feed for cattle, sheep and horses. Up until 6 years ago the farm would have been a conventional plough-based tillage system. At that point, they noticed a decline in soil health and crop yields – “The soil is one of our main assets on the farm. We wanted to introduce a system where we were improving our soil year on year, all the while producing crops.” In 2015 a low disturbance direct drilling system was implemented on the farm, meaning the seeds are sown direct into mulch/stubble and there is no ploughing or major soil disturbance which protects the soil biology and structure. They have also included a 6/7-year crop rotation system, as well as utilizing multi-species cover crops on the land to further regenerate the soil. The cover crops that are in the ground during the summer months produce a variety of flowers which attracts insects to the land. The remaining 300 acres of the farm is grassland, and the family run a dairy calf to beef system of around 200 animals. Louis is a founding member of BASE Ireland and he is passionate about educating and encouraging farmers to adopt less-intensive tillage systems.
The ‘Ask the Farmer’ series runs this Winter and Spring where a number of our amazing Ambassadors will be on-line to tell us a little more about their farm and farming system and to answer your questions about farming for nature.