16 Aug 2022

County Derry farmer recognised in NI awards

The 36-year-old is of the fourth generation to farm his land.

County Derry farmer recognised in NI awards

Dairy Farmer Jonny Hutchinson.

Tobermore Dairy farmer Jonny Hutchinson was recognised this week with a special commendation at the Ulster Grassland Society Farmer of the Year Awards 2022.Jonny was one of three Dale Farm members to be recognised for their excellence in dairy farming.

36 year old Jonny whose farm is just outside Tobermore is the fourth generation of his family to farm the land. Originally the family farmed cattle and sheep but Jonny introduced a dairy herd in 2003 as a relatively new innovation.

Speaking to the County Derry Post last night Jonny was just happy to receive the recognition for his work;

“It's just a pat on the back so to speak, for the work we are doing. It tells us we are doing the right thing,” he said.

Mr Hutchinson runs a herd of 100 pedigree Jersey cows achieving an impressive 6,800 litres per cow at 5.1% fat and 3.74%. Winter diets on the farm are supported by good quality forage.

15 acres of maize is grown and harvested each year to complement the grass silage. In 2021, cows grazed from April through to November, maximising use of grazed grass in the diet of later lactation animals.

“I started plate metering there three or four years ago and I find it's a good tool to see how we are getting on. It allows us to base our decisions on facts and it's a heavy farm we have here so the metering is useful,” said Jonny.

“We went for a jersey cow for milking because they have a lighter footprint and are good grazers and good feed converters.”

Looking ahead Jonny plans to continue to invest in his farm;

“We will be hoping to step up our stock this year and in turn our production. We hope to maybe add another 40 or 50 head of cattle and keep on investing into the business, and find ways to do things more efficiently. 

Speaking about the winner, Dale Farm Chair Fred Allen said;

“We are delighted that Jonny, alongside other Dale Farm dairy farmers, has recently been recognised for excellence in grassland farming and these awards are a testament to the sheer expertise and innovation on our members’ farms. On behalf of all of us at Dale Farm I would like to congratulate Jonny for this well-deserved accolade.”

The Ulster Grassland Society brings together farmers, advisers, lecturers, researchers and technical members of the agricultural industry and is the biggest grassland society within the UK with around 500 members.

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