On 26th September 2019, Fermanagh Ulster Farmers’ Union members embarked on a study tour of Slovakia and Austria.
The group flew from Dublin to Bratislava in Slovakia, where they were met by their guide Marcela Berith.
Their four-day study trip began with a cultural introduction to the area visiting Bratislava’s Old Town, the Primate’s Palace, Old Opera House and St Martin’s Cathedral, the coronation church of the Habsburg monarchs.
On Friday the farm group travelled between the two main Slovak rivers, Danube from the south and Vah from the north to Slovak Rye Island in the west of Slovakia, where wheat, corn, rape and sunflowers are grown in the deep fertile black soils.
Later in the day they visited one of the largest farms in Slovakia in Dvory nad Zitavou, extending to 6,000 hectares.
The company has a cattle farm as well as crops. A visit to a 72-hectare orchard followed where apples, plums, peaches and strawberries are grown, mainly for the local markets.
On Saturday the group visited a 1,100 hectare Most Pri Bratislava farm on the outskirts of the city.
Here, 210 Holstein and Jersey cows are milked, and a pedigree herd of Charolais bulls and heifers are bred and sold in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
This stop was then followed by a visit to a vineyard and winery in the Carpathian region.
On Sunday, they travelled to Vienna in neighbouring Austria for a guided tour taking in its artistic and intellectual legacy, which included Mozart and Beethoven, its imperial palaces such as Schonbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence, and its ornate museums and cathedrals.
They also saw the famed Lipizzaner dancing stallions and some enjoyed a ride in open horse carriages.
The group enjoyed cultural highlights of both countries, including traditional cuisines.
Tickets are now available for the annual dinner dance at Killyhevlin Hotel on 15th November in the UFU Office.