Dermot Doran farms 100 acres in Enfield, county Kildare. He transitioned from an intensive dairy system in 2005 and since then has managed a mixed farm of forestry, beef cattle and sheep. “The intensive nature of the farm wasn’t really sitting well with me. We seemed to be forever spreading chemical fertilizer and buying in feed.” Since adopting a less intensive farming system, the external inputs needed on the farm have been significantly reduced.
Passionate about wildlife and nature conservation, Dermot continuously puts in place measures that increase biodiversity on the farm. “The best thing I've done recently on my farm is dig out a pond – that has been the highlight for me. It really has worked wonders for the farm in terms of biodiversity. For instance, I recorded at least 13 different species of dragonfly on the pond in 2020. I have also recorded 10 species of water birds that are new to the farm.” A bird enthusiast all his life, Dermot also devotes 10 acres of his land to an annual wild bird cover crop – ensuring a food supply for birds throughout the winter months. Along with the water bird species, Dermot has recorded 25 pairs of breeding house martins, 9 pairs of breeding swifts, 7 pairs breeding of sand martin and a significant number of yellowhammers on the farm.
15 acres of the farm is under native woodland forestry and the plan is to include another 15 acres of native woodland on the farm this year. Hedgerows on the farm are cut only when absolutely necessary – “We have 5.5 kilometers of hedgerow on our farm. I believe a hedgerow is no use unless its producing flowers and berries - and adding biodiversity to a farm.”
Dermot Doran is a second generation to farm the family farm. He is a full-time farmer. He has moved from a intensive dairy farm system to a forestry, rewilding, reduced stock rate system. He has installed swift boxes on his house and has Swifts breeding now cuccessfully. He has build a pond on his farm and is part of GLAS where he has chosen to grow a wild cover crop system to enhance biodiversity. In his forestry he has built walkways to educate his young daughter and friends about the natural world. He has also installed barn owl nest boxes internally in his sheds. He has built a sand Martin wall to his ponds edge where he now successfully has established breeding sand Martins. He also participates in BTO ringing of birds on his farm and participates in the Birdwatch Ireland annual garden bird survey. He regularly conducts wildlife surveys on his farm and logs the data collected with the national biodiversity data Centre. He is a champion of wildlife and works with nature withing his farm model thus enhancing Ireland image of pasture fed livestock.
Nominator: Mervyn Walsh, Chairman, Gorteen Wildlife Conservation Trust