The ely family farm

A Few Words From Hugh Robson-

Our farm, Glencarn, is situated in the middle of the “Burren” near the village of Carron and has been organic for over 20 years.

What does this mean? Well, To keep it simple, it means:

1) No chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides are ever used on our farm.
2) No conventional medications are used.
3) No G.M. feeds are used.
4) We farm extensively (very low stocking levels).
5) All animal feed is produced organically, either by us or other organic farmers.

This is a short and simple description of organic farming, our book of rules, known as “Organic standards”, is a daunting tome and not to be entered into here.

We live in the “Burren”, a unique geographic area of some a hundred square miles in north Co.Clare. A lunar-like limestone landscape left behind by the last ice-age (lots of rock!!) and farmed for some 6,000 years. Traditionally an area that produces “Wenlings” ie. young beef cattle, sold in the autumn to farmers in the more luxurious parts of Ireland, i.e Tipp, Cork, Meath etc. However, we have “finishing” our animals for over 20 years. Our organic herd of some 100 cattle are prodominently “blacks” that is Aberdeen Angus X cows and a pure bred Angus bull, officially know as Elvis.

Our organic pig herd was originally “Saddle back” and “Gloster old spot” is now a mixture of both which leads to a colourful offspring.

We farm 400 acres which sounds a lot but which consists of large amounts of limestone rock as well as “good” land and a vast area of “bog”. Not really a bog but part of the largest Polge Turlogh in Europe i.e a disappearing lake.

Calving in the spring, the cows and calves graze good pasture and, weather permitting, the herb rich “bog”. Come Autumn, the calves are weaned and housed while the cows are put up on the rocky mountains known as the “winterage”. Where, due to our geographical location, the summer warmth of the north Atlantic drift has been stored within its rock, allowing a continous growth during the winter months, exept in the most severe of conditions. To the best of our knowledge, this method of farming is unique to the Burren.

Farming organically means also farming to the benefit of the indigenous Flora and Fauna. More about this at a later date..

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