Introducing Water Buffalo Farming to Co. Wexford
Tour and Taste the Range at Macamore Buffalo Farm
Liam and Sinead Byrne are bringing the delightful taste of water buffalo to Co. Wexford and beyond from their family farm in Ballygarrett Co. Wexford.
Buffalo farming has become a relatively new development in Ireland as farmers look to diversify their operations and farming methods. This is the case for Liam Byrne who started his buffalo farm in January 2016. A fourth-generation farmer, Liam was struggling with the fluctuating results of beef farming. Both he and his wife Sinead began to explore and research possible solutions to their problem. They came across the practice of buffalo farming which sparked an interest for the couple.
Following on from some research on buffalo farming, Liam purchased four calves from a farm in Macroom. During this testing period, Liam kept close observation on the calves and how they adapted to living on the farm. Upon the successful trial period, Liam decided to purchase 16 female buffalo calves from a farm in Wales and thus Macamore Buffalo began. Since this beginning, Liam now has a herd of 73 buffalo which he plans to grow as his buffalo meat increases in demand.
Water buffalo are a multi-purpose animal that can supply both meat and milk to consumers. Domesticated for over 5000 years, there is more than 130 million water buffalo now in the world to meet demand. Darker in colour than beef, buffalo meat is seen to be a lower in fat alternative as well as being high in protein. Water buffalo are also a very robust animal suited to various conditions and because of this, very little veterinary intervention is needed.
The buffalo are prepared for consumption by longstanding Wexford town family butcher, Richie Doyle Butchers. Currently most of the sales and distribution are done through the butcher and direct from Liam on the farm. These buffalo products have grown in popularity and demand is soaring. Butchering has grown from one animal a month, to one a fortnight to now one a week. Liam is careful to not to produce too much meat at a time as he is still building his herd and wants to do this as sustainably as possible.
As mentioned before, Macamore Buffalo products are available to buy direct from the farm, through their online shop and they are also featured on the menus of some top eateries across the county and beyond. Consumers can’t get enough of buffalo meat and are welcome to visit the farm on Saturdays where Sinead and Liam have set up a retail and storage unit. Choose from the popular buffalo sausages and all your favourite steak cuts. Grilled on the BBQ or as part of a delicious burger, the taste of buffalo is something to relish!
The past two years have been busy for Liam and his family but from talking to him you know he wouldn’t have it any other way. His entry into buffalo farming has re-invigorated his love for farming, which has become all the more sociable as visitors flock to the farm on Saturdays for their buffalo meat at mealtimes. More importantly Liam has control over the complete operation including delivery and suppliers, ensuring a clear path of Macamore Buffalo from farm to fork.