Join us Tuesday week, the 19th April at 8pm online for our next Ask the Farmer Q&A with Leitrim farmer Michael McManus on Booleying and a sweat lodge – Growing an agritourism business
Michael McManus hails from county Leitrim where he farms a suckler herd over 180 acres. Michael operates a rotational grazing system on this organic farm. They are moved in accordance with the stage of growth they are at or whether they have calves on them at the time – “I firmly believe that having different plant types for cattle to graze on provides them with a wide range of minerals and nutrients. I think cattle have natural curiosity that needs to be satisfied – they enjoy grazing different areas that have different types of vegetation.” The natural meadows have not been reseeded and provide great biodiversity on the farm. “The grazing of this type of land with cattle helps promote the natural vegetation here. The only management of the land is the cattle grazing, then letting the grasses and flowers grow (buttercup, rushes, meadowsweet and so on) then cutting the meadow for hay/silage later in the summer.” The cattle overwinter outdoors where they are supplemented with some meal and hay/silage. Michael is interested in agroforestry, permaculture and preserving traditional methods of farming. He values nature, heritage and biodiversity on his farm.
With that is mind they are producing beauty products at Spa Cottage from the sulphur springs that exist on the farm. They are also at an advanced stages of developing an old sweat house on the farm and to develop heated spas using solar and hydropower on the farm as an ecotourism business. The sulphur spas were first recorded in the 16th century on the farm but it is believed that they are probably of Celtic origin, used by them and were known always to have positive dermatology results.
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.