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How we farm

Traditional Breeds

All our beef is from traditional beef breeds: Aberdeen Angus and Hereford. These breeds have consistently been shown to have the best eating quality. They also allow us to produce beef without the need for large quantities of grain.

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Minimising Emissions

We farm cattle and crops together. This enables us to use manure from the cattle as an organic fertiliser, minimising our need for chemical fertilizer. When we do use fertiliser, we minimize harmful GHG emissions through our use of ‘protected’ fertilisers. These fertilisers are engineered to avoid losses of ammonia (a greenhouse gas) to the atmosphere.

In 2017 we purchased a new slurry tanker to minimize smells and emissions from our slurry, this gets more of the nutrients into the soil and less into the atmosphere!

Our cattle graze on multi-species grasslands. This has been proven to reduce methane emissions from the cattle while also accelerating the storage of carbon deep within our soils.

As we grow all our own winter feed, there are no transport related emissions for our feed.

We are experimenting with direct seeding and minimum tillage (planting without ploughing) to reduce the emissions related to the sowing of crops.

Applying slurry with a trailing shoe.

Biodiversity & Pollinators

Our diverse crops, especially our flowering crops such as clover and peas, along with the miles of hedgerows and thousands of trees, make fantastic habitats and food sources for a huge range of wildlife.

We share our farm with Irish hare, wild deer, buzzards, sparrow hawks, barn owls, bats, ducks, foxes, pheasants, hedgehogs, badgers, wild honeybees, and numerous species of butterflies along with many other common animals, birds and insects.

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Soil Health – Sequestering Carbon

Healthy soil is the biggest potential secure store of carbon on the planet, it is alive, and should have a diversity in insects, fungi and bacteria. These organisms are constantly working to cycle nutrients for healthier plants, restructuring soil for better drainage and sequestering carbon deep in the soil where it is locked away securely.

We feed this diversity as our mixed farm as our animals allow us to use the organic manure to fertilize our crops.

We protect our soils; keeping a living green cover on the soil for as much of the year as possible. We plant special Cover Crops in the autumn to protect and feed our soils over the winter. The Cover Crops also mop up any nutrients left over from the growing season preventing leaching and protecting water quality. These crops include phacelia, vetch, forage rape, and radish ….. we like to call it worm food.

We provide a home for soil life by growing a diverse range of crops this leads to a healthier more diverse soil biome with a bigger range of micro-organisms and fungi. We are always experimenting and innovating by growing new crops that reduce our effect on the environment; some of these include red clover silage and Pea/Cereal combi-crops. These crops capture nitrogen from the air, avoiding the need for chemical fertilisers, they also have a much-reduced need for pesticides. Reducing these inputs again has a beneficial effect on soil life.

Pea and Barley Combi Crop
Pea and Barley Combi Crop
Red Clover
Red Clover

Mixed Grazing

We grow clover, plantain, and chicory alongside our grass, for cattle to graze. This reduces our need to use chemical fertiliser, gives cattle a nutrient-dense balanced diet and the cattle LOVE it! Grazing these mixed pastures reduces methane emissions, and accelerates the storage of carbon in the soil.

Our Environment

We are constantly working to reduce our impact on the environment. In recognition of this, we were selected as finalists in the 2018 Bord Bia Origin Green Awards!

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Trees and Hedgerows

We are continually investing in our environment. In the last three years we have planted nearly 600 native hardwood trees on the farm. We have also planted over 500 metres of new diverse hedgerow on the farm. This is in addition to the many miles of established hedgerow that have been in place for centuries and act as a vital habitat and nature corridors between areas of established woodland. Trees and hedgerows also sequester large volumes of carbon every year.

Food Waste

We strive to reduce waste in our business, this is most important to us when it comes to our core product, the beef. We believe all parts of the animal can provide delicious nutritious food and out of respect for the animal and our planet we feel none of it should go to waste.

Our boxes are carefully designed so all parts of the animal are used to the optimum, we can also supply liver, tongue, cheek, heart, kidney and suet. We acknowledge these are not mainstream products and so they are not included as standard but we are happy to supply them to customers on request.

Animal Welfare

We look after our animals well. Each day we routinely check the health of each of our cattle. If they are sick or injured, we monitor them in sick bay; a smaller, warmer, straw bedded shed where they get lots of TLC and when necessary, we give them the appropriate medication and record it correctly; no trace of the medication enters the food chain.

Having introduced multi-species swarths containing plantain, we are able to reduce the worm-burden in our cattle, as this acts as a natural wormer. We also use plant extract in the cattle’s feed, to avoid parasites. It smells a bit like Vicks Vapour Rub!

By supporting us, you are supporting a family farm and a local butcher, not large beef processors and big supermarkets chains.
If you would like to know more about how we farm please feel free to ask. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @ClonakiltyBeef for regular updates about life on the farm!
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Contact Us

Clonakilty Beef,Ahaliskey,Ballinascarthy,Clonakilty,Co. Cork,P85TP48