These Q&A sessions are a great opportunity to learn from our amazing Ambassadors who work with nature every day on their farms, and also to share your own ideas and experience of ‘Farming for Nature’.
Maurice Deasy farms in partnership with his father Ruaidhri in northwest Tipperary. The 120-acre mixed farm is a sheep and tillage operation. Crops grown include winter barley and oats, spring barley, malting barley and beans. In recent years these farmers have been implementing the principles of conservation agriculture on their land – direct drilling, crop rotation and cover cropping. This work is being done to regenerate and protect the soil biology. Maurice has been growing heritage Irish grains to preserve their genetic diversity and maintain their heritage. While these grains are lower yielding, their larger root systems provide crucial disease and drought resistance. “The heritage grains give a better flavour to the finished beer product. I have found they also have higher disease resistance.” The heritage grains are processed and malted on-site and made into a single-source farmhouse beer. Maurice is also experimenting with biological seed coatings made from biochar and seaweed to reduce inputs and adopt more natural farming processes. There are 80 breeding ewes on the farm. Some of the grassland is permanent pasture and Maurice is reseeding some of the pasture with multispecies swards.
There is approximately 20 acres of mixed woodland on the farm which attracts lots of birds to the land. Hedgerows are managed for biodiversity and act as nature corridors running throughout the land. There is an area of wet/boggy land which has been fenced off and left for biodiversity. A river runs through the farm and there is a pond on the land. On the farm there are deer, woodcock, snipe, pheasant, kingfisher and otter.