Clinton Brownrigg

Clinton is a conventional tillage farmer, farming 80 hectares (197ac) at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. After farming in a prescriptive way, he stepped away from the farm for 6 years. Upon returning, he looked at the farm with new eyes and began to farm more in tune with nature. Ever since, his aim has been to cause as little disturbance to the soil as possible. His cover crops, beans and winter crops are all seeded by direct drilling. His spring crops are sown by min till. After witnessing soil erosion on his farm, he subsequently never leaves bare soil, either sowing a cover crop or putting in winter crops after harvest.

He has eliminated the use of insecticides, by focusing on plant health. He finds that aphid pressure can be kept under control when the soil is balanced for trace elements and nitrogen is not overapplied. He tests for deficiencies in the soil and treats with foliar sprays rather than using fungicides. Depending on the weather, his careful management of nutrients has meant fungicide use is down 30-50%, as 'the more nitrogen you use the more fungicide you need’.

Under the ACRES scheme, he has put in over 5 hectares of riparian zones along the Avonbeg River, sowing traditional grasses such as Coxfoot and Timothy. Around 4 hectares of his land is left for nature and a further 10-15% is made up of hedgerows. There is also 12 hectares of woodland; an even mix of conifers and native hardwoods. The lesser spotted Red Kite is a regular site around the farm. Clinton appreciates the abundance of wildlife around him in Wicklow and works hard to ensure his farm doesn’t impact on it.

NOMINATOR: Pat Dunne, Farming for Nature Ambassador.
NOMINATION: The Brownrigg family have been farming in Ballinatone for generations and Clinton who is a married man with a young family is farming about 200 acres including 30 acres of forestry which is a mix conifers and hardwood. He has 170 acres of arable land which which he has been farming with great care for nature in the past couple of years and openly encouraging others to do so as well. He is a well educated young man who I believe would make an excellent Farming for Nature ambassador.

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