ICBF has recently launched its #FutureofFarming campaign, in collaboration with the Hynes family, Aherla, Co. Cork, with a view to highlighting the value and importance of the Irish family-run dairy farms.
By showing the positive outcomes achieved by the Hynes family, ICBF plan to promote efficient farming practices and raise awareness of where food comes from, as well as emphasise the importance of on-farm data recording and research.
Further to this, #FutureofFarming will discuss key topics that affect the daily lives of Irish farmers. It is hoped that the campaign can provide thought-provoking content about the future of farming in Ireland for the next generation.
ICBF’s Laura Cornthwaite said: “The need has never been greater for us to promote efficient and sustainable farming, to ensure that farming in Ireland has a very bright future.”
“Working with the Hynes family, we hope to engage farmers and members of the public alike, it’s exciting to work with people that share our passion for positively promoting the industry’.”
The campaign will follow the Hynes family throughout the year with regular articles, videos and picture updates on the ICBF’s website and social media channels.
Peter and Paula Hynes run a 180-cow grass-based herd which has expanded since EU quotas were abolished. The herd has been using high-EBI genomic sires for several years, which has seen the herd achieve significant genetic gain and is now home to many dairy females in excess of €300 EBI.
Rathard Alanna won the Munster Bovine All-Ireland EBI championship in 2019, under the capable handling of Becky Hynes, whilst her younger sister, Georgina, took charge of handling duties at the National Dairy show, where Alanna also claimed the highest EBI award.
“For us, Rathard is an excellent example of a progressive dairy herd, they effectively use the EBI index to breed the most efficient cows possible.”
“Their trust in high indexing young genomic sires means are able to achieve the maximum genetic gain with every mating,” Laura added.
The main aim of the herd is to be sustainably efficient, targeting key areas and exceeding 300 days grazing every year.
6-week calving rate stands at an impressive 86%, whilst also using GeneIreland beef bulls from day one of breeding, to ensure it also produces quality beef calves which are sold direct to rearer herds.
Family farming will always be at the heart of the Rathard herd, with daughters; Chloe, Becky and Georgina being capable passionate young farmers.
Whilst dairy farming is the Hynes family’s passion, they have also found themselves in the public limelight, since winning the Zurich Irish Independent Farmer of the Year in 2017.
Paula spent three weeks in Kenya in late 2017, living with a Massai community filming The Hardest Harvest for RTÉ. Numerous other TV appearances included TV3, TG4, Ear to the Ground and the couple were also featured on The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy in 2019.
Peter and Paula’s aim is to show their daughters what is possible to achieve if you have a passion and drive for something and this is evident in everything they do.
The family are always keen to help others and have raised in excess of €50,000 for charity in the last few years. They are also responsible for setting up the mental health awareness campaign, RearingToGo, which has created awareness both in Ireland and the UK.
The couple are also proud ambassadors for the mental wellbeing campaign #TackleYourFeelings run by RugbyPlayersIreland & Zurich Ireland. Peter is also a regular columnist in agricultural publications as well as a competent and passionate public speaker.
“We are delighted to collaborate with ICBF for such an exciting campaign, it has never been more important to engage with the public and show what happens inside the farm gate. We are excited to welcome the ICBF team on-farm throughout the year.” Peter added.