Clare farmer Diarmaid Fitzgerald was crowned the 2022 Grassland Farmer of the Year. Diarmaid, from Cratloe in Co Clare, impressed the judges with how he manages the grass and clover swards on his farm, which is along the banks of the Shannon Estuary.

Diarmaid is farming a total of 67.5ha, all in one block with no outside land and he has been contract-rearing heifers for the last two years so the only group of stock he has to look after are the baby calves in spring and the milking cows.

He is milking 150 cows which is a stocking rate of just under 2.5 cows/ha. Last year, he fed 800kg of meal and delivered over 460kg MS/cow.

Diarmaid won the young farmer category and the overall competition, beating off stiff competition from other contestants. An open day will take place on the Fitzgerald farm later this year.

Other winners at the award ceremony are:

  • Drystock winner: Michael McGuigan from Co Meath.
  • Clover winner: John Casey from Co Kerry.
  • Dairy winner: David Gannon from Co Galway.
  • Mixed soils winner: Michael Walsh from Co Laois.
  • Runner-up awards were made to Jimmy Cotter, Alan Duggan, Michael Cunniffe and Kyle Handbidge.