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the Future Decision Time


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Listen to the audio versionFind out what Mrs Farmer thinksClick to see what the farmers son thinksClick to see the farmers daughters opinion

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"Well the plans now for the small farmer to survive is to go into organic farming, because they seem to get a more premium (price) for their produce, but there is going to be a lot of drawbacks with it because of the fertiliser and because we're on the hill with the poor land. We do need something to boost the grass and if we have to use some sort of an additional feed then we're going to have to make sure that, that feed is coming from an organic farm too, which is going to maybe add to the cost. So there is a lot of problems to be faced to go into the organic thing, but I mean in the long term it probably might be worth it."

"Tell me about how wrack (seaweed) was used in the past and how you'd like to use it?"

Mr Farmer
"Well years ago the wrack was cut and was taken and drawn in. It was mostly then for the potato growing. It was spread in the alleys of the drills and the potatoes were planted on it. It did give a lot of minerals into the soil. One basic would have been salt and iron and all the different minerals were used. So we hopefully think of starting again to spread it over the grass. That might add some nutrients to the grass rather than the fertilisers, the oil based fertilisers that we would normally be using."

"Would you like to be able to farm full-time?"

Mr Farmer
"Yes, I would like to be farming full-time, but with the pattern of farming in the Mournes, they were always small, on average about 10 acres, and you would have to accumulate now a lot of land to be fit to survive full-time. Farming for the majority of farms was always mixed and there was some sheep, cattle, potatoes, corn, different things, but now most of the people are going, with the small farms that they have, they're limiting what they're doing; some strictly beef, some sheep, maybe some diary, so it's very hard to cover the full range. I think mostly everyone's going for a grass based thing now for there's less work with it and because of wages being so high, it's very hard to get people, I suppose to work now on the farms."


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