We started our day meeting a Ph.D. Student name David. David has been working on feeding trials for Irish systems. These systems are from 15 month to 29 month systems of finishing cattle. In contrasts in the US, we are looking at around 18 months start to finish with corn being are main supplement given. In Ireland, they try their best to finish primarily on grass. We then went and met another Advisor name John. John works for Teagasc, but also helps with his family farm that has been in operation for 9 generations. The farm raises wheat, barley, oats, rape (canola), and potatoes. They focus primarily on niche markets with early potatoes and raise grains to fit high demand and low supply windows.
Before leaving Wexford, we walked the grounds of the castle and toured the Irish Agriculture Museum. Cough cough……Virginia needs an agriculture museum…..cough. The exhibit on the potato famine was fabulous. Looking at that statistics presented, I can’t help thinking about the upcoming world population and need to feed them all!! The grounds had so many interesting plants from all over. Brad and I found our favorite called Brazilian Rhubarb!!
We then traveled to County Carlow to visit a truly more traditional farm or not progressive as they liked to tell us. Their houses is known to be the oldest existing thatch cottage in Ireland and dates back to the mid 1500s. The walls where 18 inches to 24 inches thick. The house has been in Phyllis’s family throughout that entire time. Phyllis and her husband, Tom, both love to tell you about their house and natural farm practices. They used to raise purebred Herefords and love nature. They are both characters and we throughly enjoyed our visit with them!!
Finally, we finished our evening driving up to the top of Ireland to Donegal. We spent the evening listening to a lot of American Country Music in the hotel pub! Who knew that Ireland loves the songs Country Roads and Wagon Wheel.