'Achieving self sustainability on a mixed stock farm'
The ‘Ask the Farmer’ series runs this Winter and Spring where a number of our amazing Ambassadors will be on-line to tell us a little more about their farm and farming system and to answer your questions about farming for nature.
Mona and Harry Muller, along with their four children, farm 38.5 hectares of wet grassland in the Slieve Aughty Mountains in Co. Clare. The family farm is situated in a Hen Harrier Special Protected Area and they are members of the Hen Harrier programme since 2018. “The areas of wetland on the farm provide great biodiversity, but the land needs farming in a very sensitive way.” The farm is certified organic and guided by biodynamic principles. On the farm there are horses, goats, sheep, cattle, hens, ducks, turkeys and bees. The animals play an important role in grazing the natural mountain vegetation and providing fertilizer for soil regeneration. Meat, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese is sold direct to the local community via a small on-site farm shop. There is a horticulture enterprise on the farm as well – organic vegetables are sold direct to local customers and the Mullers grow heritage vegetable seeds for Irish Seed Savers. External inputs on the farm are extremely low. Fodder crops and cereals are grown on the land to provide winter feed for the animals. The Mullers use draft horses to plough the land in place of machinery where possible. The family have worked hard to create a self-sufficient farm that is ecologically and economically viable. “We see our farm as an organism. Where all the different animals and all the different enterprises interlink and support each other and work with each other.”