Welcome to Talamh Beo

Matthew Kyhnn's Farm

EIP Soil Biodiversity Project Participant


Matthew Kyhnn


Castlegregory, Co Kerry

Water Catchment Area:

Tralee Bay Feale

Land Use:

Hill Sheep & Commonage

Matthew Kyhnn's Farm

Matthew’s farm is situated on a steep hillside in Castlegregory, County Kerry, with wonderful views across Tralee Bay. The farm includes 30 acres of owned land devoted to sheep farming with cheviots, and he also has access to commonage. Of the 4.9 million hectares of agricultural land in Ireland, 427,800 hectares of this is commonage – almost 9% of the total farming land. Commonage is mostly unfenced uplands, jointly owned by a group of farmers. Over 11,000 farms have a shareholding in one or more of the approximately 4,500 remaining commonages. 

Matt’s wife, Maura, inherited the farm from her uncles while they were living in New Zealand. They decided to return to Ireland to farm the land. As neither had formal farming backgrounds, they were taking on an uphill challenge and have embarked upon a steep learning curve.

Matt and Maura decided to follow a sustainable approach to farming which included an emphasis on building biodiversity and habitat. Mob grazing the sheep, moving them daily using a Gallagher electric fence, allows him a 45 day gazing rotation. This means that a grazed area has a full 45 days to regenerate. Although this is a highly labour intensive system, the rewards are in evident in the amount of grass available and the quality and diversity of the grazing.

Like many other farmers on the project, Matt & Maura are busy building a home and maintaining the infrastructure on the farm, including repairing its many stone walls. You can view a gallery of photos from Matthew’s farm here.

I'm a first generation farmer learning to farm responsibly and sustainably with the goal of regenerating the land, building soil, increasing biodiversity and leaving the farm stronger for future generations.

EIP Soil Diversity Project

Matthew’s farm at Castlegregory consists of acidic, poorly drained mineral soils with peaty topsoil as well as sandstone till. Through his participation in the EIP Soil Diversity Project, Matthew has trialled and documented a range of technical innovations  (such as bioNutrient meters) and physical innovations – in his case, Matthew built a Johnson Su Bio-reactor to create compost.

Matthew’s progress through Nicole Masters’ Integrity Soils educational course and the results of his farm trials have been recorded in his farm report. At the end of the course, Matthew will be trained and certified to look at soil microbes. This will enable him to carry out analysis for not only his own farm, but other individuals, farms and agri-businesses who can benefit from knowing what their soil needs to boost yields. 

Matthew’s farm walk took place on the 6th of July, 2022, with a focus on establishing a mixed species sward and discussions around how to improve results. Matthew’s farm walk can be viewed below.

You can check out Matthew’s course certificates and find out more about his trial plot, experiment and baseline soil test results in his project report.

Project Report

Farm Walk

Matthew's Farm Walk

Here are some highlights from Matthew's Farm Walk, which focused on establishing a mixed species sward and discussions around improving results.

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