What type of farming are you involved in?
I am a full-time farmer, farming mainly sheep and maybe a lock of suckler cows.
Can you tell us about your farm assist?
The farm assist would be mainly Mayo Blackface horn ewes and then there would be a small percentage of them ran with a Texel ram to breed Hilltex ewes. They would be ewes that would be culled off the following year and run with a lock of about 25 suckling cows.
Can you tell us about your farm system?
The farm system would be mainly Mayo Blackface horn ewes and then there would be a small percentage of them run with a Texel ram to breed Hilltex ewes. They would be ewes that would be culled off the following year.
What do you like about the Mayo Blackface breed?
Especially in the terrain we’re in they are a great cross because you are not dependent all year around on the green land. Where we come from it would be reclaimed peat land and it’s just grand.
Is there is a good market for your lambs?
A great market. Since we started, a lot of farmers used to sell them off in the store but now we’re finishing them off and getting a market into Kildare Chilling. We’ve a sale for the percentage of the ewe lambs then too. That’s why we want to try and keep the Mayo ewe. They suit the land and the terrain we’re in.
From an environmental perspective, do you feel that farmers like yourself contribute more than just producing a premium product but that you actually maintain the landscape?
Well basically we’ve been maintaining it for years. It’s all been handed down and we’ve kept it to the best of our ability. The Mayo Ewe, we don’t want her to die out; she’s been here for generations. If the Mayo Blackface ewe were to decline everything would suffer.
Do you think hill sheep farmers should be supported further?
Naturally enough yes. I am making a living off it and I’d love to see whoever is coming after me make the same living off of it. But if there are more restrictions put in place it wouldn’t be viable, we’d have to get supports in place. If there are more restrictions imposed on us, we’d find it very hard to survive really.