Agri Tours Ireland are highly experienced in producing tours to industry-leading sheep farms all across Ireland. We can arrange a tour of Irish sheep farms that includes both low land intensive producers and extensive high land and rough ground sheep farmers as well.
Learn from Irish farmers about how the breed selection dramatically affects performance across the very varied Irish terrain, from high yielding lowland intensively farmed breeds to the high land extensively farmed sheep who live on low feed value rough grazing
Touring Irish sheep farms can be part of a multidiscipline Agri tour, or we can arrange a fully specialised tour concentrating just on the lamb meat industry.
Ireland has a major lamb production industry. Sheep farming in Ireland is almost exclusively dedicated to lamb meat production. The animals are sheared each year to remove the fleece, but this is out of necessity, not economics. There is also a very small niche of dairy herds of sheep, producing specialist products such as sheep's cheese. The vast majority of Irish sheep farms though are dedicated to top-quality lamb meat production.
A combination of the ideal temperate climate with plenty of rainfall, and our highly skilled and experienced workforce has created Ireland's position as a leading Lamb producer and exporter.
Sheep farming is an important farming enterprise in ireland, with close to 35,000 farms engaging in sheep farming enterprise. Irish Lamb meat has a great image for being healthy, natural and environmental friendly making it a great export product. Ireland is the biggest exporter of Lamb meat in the EU even though it is only 6th in sheep production. There are seven export plants dotted around Ireland which together with the subsidiary services provide invaluable employment in the Irish countryside.
On the sheep farm tour of Ireland from Agri Tours you can observe both lowland intensive sheep farming and rough ground extensive farming.
Sheep farming has a vital role in terms of preservation and conservation of fragile hill and mountainous areas which you may visit on the sheep tours. Donegal and Galway including the beautiful Connemara region are among the most densely populated areas of sheep.
Irish lamb is famed for being high in quality, natural and a nutrient dense product. Due to the mainly grass-based systems they feed on which we can arrange for you to see on the sheep farm tours, this gives Irish lamb an authentic tasty flavour. Irish lambs are reared free-range in the outdoors and in small flocks, with the average flock size being just over a 100 sheep according to the National Sheep and Goat Census by the Department of Agriculture.
The sheep meat sector in Ireland is valued at over €270 million including indigenous and export markets. This includes wool and lamb skin which are other co-products of sheep production. Just under 2.4 million sheep were processed in 2012 by the Irish sheep meat processing industry.
Historically Irish lamb was exported as a whole carcase to mainland Europe, however in more recent times process facilities have advanced so that many of the exports are already in cut form when exported. On the sheep tours discover how Irish sheep farming appeals to export markets. Today France is the largest importer of Irish lamb making up 45% of export sales. The UK, Germany and Sweden are big growth markets for Irish lamb. The home market is still very important with 25% of Irish lamb production sales being domestic.
A ewe is in lamb for around 5 months before giving birth to a 2-4kg lamb. Most ewes usually have 1-2 lambs annually and have the ability to feed two lambs at a time. In the cases where a lamb will produce more than two lambs, a single lamb mother may be used as an adoptive mother them to provide them with milk.
Ireland provides perfect spring conditions for Irish lamb welfare with fresh grass plentiful and mild conditions regularly present.
Some Irish farmers will choose to house their ewes use inside for the lambing period, especially farmers who lamb early in the year. Some farmers though will do all the lambing outside.
Irish farmers shear their sheep in the summer mostly to control grubs and other pests. The value of the wool is very low and the shearing is mostly an animal husbandry decision, not an economic one.
To prevent potentially harmful parasites sheep undergo a process called drenching in the summer where they are giving an intake of medicine through their mouths, or "pour-on's" which are chemicals that are sprayed onto the animal's fleece to control parasites.
Autumn is breeding time, and you can discuss the complex choices Irish farmers make in selecting the breeds of sheep. The varied terrain across Ireland leads to a large range of different breeds being used for different ground types. Also different farmers target different markets, and have specialised the breed selection for their own market niche.
All the sheep must be tagged before the bulk of lambs are sold in the autumn and these are recorded and registered by the state, as part of the meat tracking system employed in Ireland.
In the cold & dark winter months grass growth in Ireland is minimal. To ensure sheep have enough feed Irish farmers will often supplement the grass with silage and hay if he/she feels it is necessary. Sheep, as opposed to cows for example, can stay outdoors in the winter months. The farmer may choose if the weather gets particularly bad to bring the flock indoors for a period but largely sheep stay outside in the winter. The first lambs are then born in early January and lambing season can extend all the way through until May with different farmers staggering their lambing periods to spread the supply of lamb.
Agri Tours will take over from the minute you touch down into Ireland. We provide a inclusive private tour including transport, arranging all your farm visits, sightseeing attractions, accommodation, and we can provide as many meals as you would like included.
Every tour we provide is private just for your group, and tailored just to your needs.
If your group's agricultural connection is educational, business, or entirely personal, we can craft the ideal Irish farm tour itinerary to match.
Let us know your group's interests and we will design visits to match, from a highly specialised one-sector tour to a multi discipline tour encompassing the broad range of agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture enterprises in Ireland.
Purely farm visits, or perhaps a mixture along with some of Ireland's greatest cultural and sightseeing attractions. Maybe your group would like to get involved in the famous Irish culture and add experiences outside the farming industry as well.
Everything we produce is fully customised to your needs, so please don't hesitate to let us know your exacting requirements, we would be only too happy to produce an itinerary for your needs.
From students looking for budget friendly accommodation, to business leaders looking to enjoy some of Ireland's best accommodation, your whole tour will be customised to match your budget needs.
We can provide vehicles from private cars for groups of 2 up to 50 seater coaches, along with a full range of minibuses and small coach sizes in the middle.
The accommodation is tailored to the requirements of your party. we have access to the full range of of Islands accommodation, from hostels for young groups,B&Bs and homestays, 3*, 4* & 5* hotels to luxury manor houses and castles.
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Agri Tours Ireland is run by David O'Gorman, who has a BSc in Agriculture from University College Dublin. His previous positions included lecturing in horticulture and working for the government's agricultural advisory service.
You will not find a more knowledgeable or more dedicated team for Farm Tours in Ireland.
Having the right contacts in Ireland agricultural sector is key to providing the very best in Agro Tourism. We have been trading since 1989, and in all those years have built up the industries best range of contacts across every sector of the agricultural industry in Ireland.
No matter what your area of specialist interest we have unique access to businesses to provide the ideal visits. Let us quote your tour.
As part of the Discover Ireland tours group, we command unrivalled buying power with all the aspects of your tour giving you the very best in value. From budget friendly accommodation the students to five-star luxury, you will find our prices highly competitive at all market levels. Our ability to provide value in all the tours we do is one of the reasons we are the market leaders in agri-tourism.
Our team are here to give you perfect Irish tour experience. Every tour we produce is unique and fully customised to your group's needs. Our tour planning starts with a blank piece of paper and a chat with you, and I expect team will work with you to create the perfect itinerary.
We offer a whole range of farm tour types, from horticultural study tours for students to multi segment farm and sightseeing tours. All our tours are unique, fully customised to the needs of your group. Please take the information below just as a start point to help get your ideas flowing. When it comes to planning your tour we can provide any tour you would like, so please just get in touch and let us quote for your tour.
Your itinerary will be designed entirely around the needs and interests of your group.
We can arrange farm Tours of Ireland to cover a wide range of industrial segments. Do let us know the different disciplines that interest your group and we can suggest visits to cover the range of industries they would like to experience.
Our unrivalled range of agricultural contacts means we can provide highly specialist tours. If you would like your time in Ireland to focus entirely on one or a few segments, we can design an itinerary to give you the best insider experiences of Irish agricultural practices in your field.
Below is a list of some of our specialist areas, but it is by no means an exhaustive list so no matter what your specialism just get in touch to let us provide a quote for your tour.
We our highly experienced in providing tours for farm business leaders, who are coming to Ireland to meet and share ideas with Ireland's leading agri-businesses.
We can arrange visits some of Ireland's most cutting-edge farms, where you can discuss the latest techniques and how leading Irish farming businesses are taking farming into the 21st-century.
You can also see first-hand how downstream added-value is an integral part of the Irish agricultural industry and how such a small nation has become such a major player in world agricultural exports.
We offer agricultural study tours and educational tours across all of Ireland's farming sectors.
Ireland is a major agricultural exporter and its agricultural industry is one of the most innovative in the world. From yield levels to downstream increase in value to efficiency techniques, let us know your interest area and we will use our unique range of contacts to provide the most informative and educational visits for your group.
We can provide itineraries and accommodation that match both the needs and the budgets of university and student groups. Be it a multidiscipline tour, or an educational tour focused in on one particular sector, we can arrange everything for your educational tour in Ireland.
No visit to Ireland is complete without taking the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of Irish City and Country life. With our years of experience we have honed our tours to ensure you see the best of real Ireland while you are here.
Amongst the Farms and Forests of Ireland, there are Ancient Stones and Crosses, Magnificent Castles and Monasteries; the sheep graze along mountain trails and the farmer enjoys live music and a pint in the local pub. Agri Tours are happy to provide these authentic Irish experiences while you visiting Irish Farms.
Just let us know the perfect balance for your tour and we will create a unique itinerary to match. Some groups would just like a few pointers for a great Irish pub to enjoy a drink at the end of the day, and other groups would like a much larger bias on the sightseeing aspects, spending a significant part of their time experiencing all of Ireland's magnificent history and culture.
As part of the Discover Ireland tours group, our knowledge extends far beyond the agricultural sectors of Ireland. So if you would also like to discover some of Ireland's history, experience its vibrant culture and get amongst its friendly people, we would be only too happy to incorporate these aspects into your Irish Tour.
Agri Tours is a founding member of Agricultural Tour Operators International (ATOI), the body that leads the way in setting standards for AgroTourism worldwide.More About Agricultural Tour Operators International (ATOI)
Agri Tours is part of the National Tour Association (NTA), one of the leading associations for tour operators across the globe.More About National Tour Association (NTA)