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The Venue

05 April 2018

RDS Spring Awards celebrate livestock and forestry

Emphasis on promoting Climate Smart Agriculture

€21,000 prize fund & new prizes for 2018

Historic Spring Show Trophies Awarded

Farmers from around the country received the 2018 RDS Spring Awards at a ceremony in Ballsbridge earlier this week (4/4/2018), with new Awards recognising the genetic merit of the best beef and dairy herds, as well as a first Teagsac Farm Forestry Award. The theme running throughout the awards was on climate smart agriculture, particularly the need for farmers to be more scientifically aware in their decision-making around breeding, as well as being more open to afforestation.

Speaking at the presentation of the Awards, Andrew Doyle T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, commented “I am pleased that the RDS Spring Agriculture Awards relate to both agriculture and forestry. I believe that forestry can complement other farming enterprises, which when combined together will contribute to the profitability and sustainability of the overall farm business.  I encourage farmers to seriously consider forestry as part of their farming mix.  Planting part of a farm, perhaps the more remote or more difficult land, can provide an additional source of income while allowing landowners to maintain their existing output.”

The Minister continued ‘Livestock farming continues to be a critical part of farming in Ireland and pedigree breeders have a major role in this regard.  The Livestock awards on offer today were designed to give recognition to the integral part pedigree breeders play in this industry.  It is clear that we have added a scientific dimension to cattle breeding in recent years and pedigree breeders have adopted these technologies. Their involvement with ICBF and in data recording systems is paramount.  I would like to congratulate all of today's individual award winners and wish them every success in their future breeding and showing ventures.’

Brendan Meade from Whiteleas Farm on the Meath-Dublin border took the inaugural RDS Dairy Herd Award. Brendan’s farm is a model spring-calving system built on good breeding, high grass utilisation and a labour-conscious system. Brendan was an early adopter of Economic Breeding Index (EBI) as he saw that “it was the first-time science was applied to breeding.” He has the best combination of EBI, Calving interval and 6-week calving rate performance based on herds which are members of HerdPlus and Genotyping young dairy females.

The winner of the inaugural RDS Beef Herd Award was Richard Fortune, Knottown, Co. Wexford. Richard received the 2013 RDS Maternal Index Award for his outstanding Salers cow Usance. His winning beef herd have an average €uro-Star replacement index of €192, an average calving interval of 375 days, and an average calves/cow/year rate of 1.03/calves/cow/year.

The RDS Economic Breeding Index Award went to James Lynch, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, for Cappasouth Cuddy Leo who is the highest EBI Genotyped cow currently in the country. The winner of for 2018 is While Jonathan Harte from Templeboy, Co. Sligo, the RDS Euro-Star Index Award for High Clue Amelia who is the top Euro-Star replacement index Piedmontese cow in the country with a Euro-Star value of €207.

Andrew O’Carroll, Rathcash, Clifden, County Kilkenny was awarded the inaugural Teagasc Farm Forestry Award. Andrew farms a total of 140 acres of which 47 acres are in forestry. The forest was planted in 2005. It is in three blocks all of which contain the same species mix – 80% Sitka Spruce, 15% Japanese larch and 5% alder.

In 2005, Andrew was considering options for his farm’s long-term income financial security. After doing some research and taking advice from Teagasc and Coillte he decided to plant some of his poorer quality agricultural land. This land was on higher ground than the rest of the farm and had a shorter grazing season. With the money generated from the 20-year guaranteed premium he rented an equivalent amount of good agricultural land on a long-term lease. He can now plan his farm enterprise in a more predictable and efficient way and is less dependent on weather conditions. The forest is now approaching first thinning, is in excellent condition, and is just about to start producing a significant revenue stream for Andrew.

Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS said: Climate change and food security are two of the most important issues of this century, and will have severe long-term consequences. Ireland has a responsibility in both areas. To be smart and effective in the way we produce higher quality food, and to be responsible and diligent in tackling our greenhouse gas emissions. The forestry and livestock sectors are seen by many farmers as being at opposite ends of the agriculture spectrum. Farmers are usually involved in one sector or the other, but rarely both. However, the future of both sectors is set to be linked like never before through the international requirement to view our agricultural emissions holistically. We will be obliged to balance our dairy and beef greenhouse gas emissions, with our carbon sequestration through our forests and woodlands.


Full list of RDS Spring Awards recipients



RDS Champion of Champions 2018


Irish Angus

Michael & Niamh Barron

Irish Aberdeen Angus

Matchett family

Irish Charolais

Michael J. Quin

Irish Hereford

John and Frank Appelbe

Irish Holstein Friesian

Henry O Keeffe

Irish Limousin

Owen Hester



Genetic Index Awards 2018


Euro-Star Replacement Index

Jonathan Harte

Economic Breeding Index

James Lynch

Beef Herd Award

Richard Fortune

Dairy Herd Award

Brendan Meade



Forestry Awards 2018


Community Woodlands -Runner Up

Teagasc Ballyhaise College

Community Woodlands -Winner

Colin Glen Forest Park

Multipurpose Forestry RU

Hilton Park

Multipurpose Forestry W

Curraghchase Forest Park

Production Forestry RU

Colm Foy

Production Forestry W

Ashling Minnock

Teagasc Farm Forestry Award RU

Thomas Duffy

Teagasc Farm Forestry Award W

Andrew O’Carroll


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