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Horticulture Awards 2018

Twelve producers were shortlisted based on their overall audit performance in the Sustainable Horticulture Assurance Scheme and are among the top performing horticultural farms in Ireland.

Each finalist was assessed across sustainability topics including crop husbandry, health and safety, farm labour, local community involvement, environmental/biodiversity measures and energy usage.

Read more about the horticulture category winners below.

Mushrooms

Reilly Mushrooms
Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Reilly Mushrooms is a family business, established by Gerard and Mary Reilly with their two sons, also now involved in farm operations. The business employs more than 50 people.  Considerable investment and expansion has been undertaken over the years. The Farm produces approximately 50,000kg of high quality mushrooms per week.

Key sustainability measures:

  • The use of renewable fuel and solar panels for electricity production.
  • Use of Lean management techniques to drive efficiencies on farm.
  • Reviewing options for alternative packaging and market diversification.
  • High level of Health and Safety on farm with close attention to staff welfare.
  • €200k invested in a a centralised piped steam sterilisation system eliminating the need for any disinfectant use.

Protected Crops and Fruit

Flynn’s Irish Tomatoes
Swords, Co. Dublin

This is a modern and very efficient farm managed by Martin Flynn. Employing nearly 12 fulltime staff, the workforce expands to 25 during harvest. Excellent production, packing and staff facilities ensures a good working environment. Martin has invested heavily in both infrastructure and technology allowing him to both maximise and monitor yield performance and predict production forward.

Key sustainability measures:

  • Customer and supplier relationship developmentWater Management includes rainwater harvesting and recirculation of fertigation water
  • Waste management planning includes reduced crop wastage through late season management of plant ripening.
  • Use of high efficiency boilers and extraction of CO2 from boiler exhaust used to feed plants.
  • Imbedded Integrated pest management includes environmental controls and use of advanced spraying technology

Potatoes

Kilmore Potatoes Ltd
Kilmore, Co. Wexford

John and his brother, Chris Fortune, grow a wide range of potato varieties to cater to a number of market segments, including the planting of salad potatoes to meet a growing market segment commonly meet by imported produce. Kilmore Potatoes provide jobs to 8 full time staff and seasonal workers as required during the season. John is an advocate of changing energy supplier to get the best deals and reduce costs. Integrated pest management is practiced to reduce dependency on Plant protection products

Key sustainability measures:

  • Biodiversity measures includes 30 acres of uncropped lands across the farm
  • Nutrient management practices includes regular soil analysis aimed at addressing any deficiencies matched to crop needs
  • Use of precision GPS guided equipment
  • Diversification of varieties grown to access new markets

Field Vegetables

John B Dockrell
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

John B Dockrell is a grower of carrots and lettuce. Supplying their own carrots for 40 weeks of the year. The farm employs 31 permanent and 36 seasonal staff. The Dockrells are planning to install solar panels to provide the daytime energy requirements of the business.

Key sustainability measures:

  • Soil compaction minimised through use tracked machinery for harvest operations
  • Walking floor trailers used to reduce breakage of carrots.
  • Regular soil and plant tissue analysis carried out to maximize nutrient management
  • All field operations are carried out using GPS guided equipment
  • Appropriate intervention timing based on monitoring pest thresholds
  • 5 acres of reed beds installed to filter and clean water from carrot washing
  • Irrigation water for lettuce is treated using UV, and is controlled recorded and monitored using an app.