STUART Kingston could be described as quite the trailblazer when it comes to sustainable farming. Based at Upper Forrest Farm, Farnanes, Stuart and his wife Jean began looking at organic farming back in 1997, achieving the tough to achieve organic status in 2000. Their main motivation for this change in farming was the high costs of concentrates and fertilisers in their high-input winter beef finishing and tillage enterprise. Their 65-hectare farm now comprises a weanling/store to beef system – in 2016 some 70 animals were finished and sold directly to an organic processor. There’s also a grain operation made up of spring cereals and spring pea, with the Kingston’s selling home-produced organic grain directly to farmers, both whole and rolled, off the farm. Last year some 75 tonnes of grain was produced on 16 hectares of land – with 12 tonnes retained for cattle feed. To support both operations Stuart grows red clover on 6.7 hectares. He used red clover grass to produce silage to meet forage requirements, while improving the protein content and feeding value of the winter forage for animals being finished during these months. The farm is very much family-run with children, Lisa 12 and Sam 16, helping out. Stuart also grows organic potatoes using naturally blight-resistant varieties and supplies farmers markets. • The winner of the Sustainability & Diversification award, sponsored by Scally’s SuperValu, Clonakilty, will be announced at The Southern Star and Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Farming Awards presentation at 1pm on Sunday, September 24th, at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.