Green Glory: RDS Crowns Champions of Forestry and Livestock Awards

Winners Revealed at RDS Summit on Biodiversity and Sustainability

The prestigious RDS forestry and livestock awards for this year have been unveiled at the commencement of the two-day RDS summit dedicated to biodiversity and sustainability, which kicked off on Thursday, May 2nd. The summit, themed ‘Finding Common Ground’, aims to delve into crucial topics surrounding biodiversity and sustainability across various sectors including agriculture, arts, equestrian, enterprise, and science and technology, all through an evidence-based approach. Among the highlights of the event was the presentation of the RDS forestry and livestock awards, recognizing the efforts of foresters and farmers who have demonstrated exemplary practices in embracing environmentally conscious and forward-thinking methodologies.

The winners of the RDS forestry awards were announced, with the Community Woodlands Award going to Mallow Castle Demesne and Town Park in Co. Cork. Situated in the heart of Mallow town, this 88-acre expanse of woodlands and parks, adjacent to the River Blackwater, has been a focal point for Cork County Council’s conservation efforts since its acquisition in 2011. The council has undertaken significant native tree planting and biodiversity enhancement works to transform the grounds into a natural outdoor amenity for the community while fostering local biodiversity.

The Production Forestry Award was bestowed upon Ross Buchanan from Carndonagh, Co. Donegal, recognizing his commitment to sound silvicultural management practices. Buchanan’s woodland, located in the northern reaches of the island, boasts a diverse mixture of productive stands managed using various styles and objectives. Noteworthy is his innovative use of spruce brash for stream stabilization and wood chip for combating invasive species like Japanese knotweed.

Derek and Yvonne McCabe from Co. Cavan were honored with the Teagasc Farm-Forestry Award for their strategic integration of commercial forestry with organic farming on their farm, ensuring sustainability for future generations. The McCabe’s have progressively expanded their commercial woodland from an initial 8 hectares planted in 1990 to a substantial 70 hectares. Their diversified farming operation includes suckler farming, breeding pedigree angus and continental cattle, as well as Irish Draught horses.

Coill an Fhaltaigh in Kilkenny emerged victorious in the Native Woodland Conservation Award category. Occupying the entire townland on the outskirts of Kilkenny city, this woodland, part of the Peoples Millennium Forests, has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. The woodlands, now under state possession, have been meticulously replanted and nurtured, boasting a diverse array of plant species including oak, ash, alder, hazel, and birch.

Moving on to the livestock awards, the RDS recognized farmers who are leading the charge in the economic and environmental sustainability of Irish agriculture. These awards are closely linked to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Sheep Ireland databases, showcasing excellence in breeding and management practices.

Ciarán Lenehan, a beef farmer from Skryne in Co. Meath, clinched the RDS-ICBF Euro-Star Replacement Index Award for his active engagement in various agricultural schemes aimed at enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Lenehan’s exemplary cow, with an outstanding replacement index figure of €263, has been nominated for the Best Beef Cow Award, symbolizing excellence in breeding and genetics.

Paul Keating from Co. Wexford was honored with the RDS-ICBF Euro-Star Herd Award for his successful operation of a suckler-to-beef system, boasting high calving rates and efficient breeding practices. Keating’s commitment to using top-quality genetics through the Beef Gene Ireland program has played a pivotal role in the success of his herd.

Donal Martin Murphy, also from Co. Wexford, received the RDS-ICBF Economic Breeding Index Award for his exceptional breeding practices, particularly with the dam of AI bull FR6772. Murphy’s split calving herd and focus on maximizing grass in the diet underscore his dedication to sustainable and efficient farming practices.

Terry Cassin, a dairy farmer from Co. Kilkenny, was honored with the RDS-ICBF Dairy EBI Herd Award for his exemplary herd management practices, exemplifying the positive impact of the economic breeding index (EBI) on farm efficiency and productivity. Cassin’s long-standing participation in the ICBF Gene Ireland Program has contributed to the success of his dairy enterprise.

Jim and Frampton Jeffery were recognized with the RDS-Sheep Ireland LambPlus Award for their commitment to genetic improvement in their pedigree Charollais, Suffolk, and Texel ewe flock. The Jeffery’s dedication to enhancing their flock’s genetics through the LambPlus system has yielded impressive results, as evidenced by their success at the Sheep Ireland sale.

The RDS forestry and livestock awards serve as a testament to the dedication and innovation of Irish foresters and farmers in promoting sustainable practices and biodiversity conservation across the agricultural sector. These awards not only recognize excellence but also inspire others to follow suit in fostering a more environmentally conscious and sustainable future for Irish agriculture.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

Leave a Replay

Scroll to Top