|Photo: PDG Helicopters|
I spent two days in Northern Ireland, last week, as the guest of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). I visited four of the six demonstration sites that were established this summer to compare the effectiveness, against an untreated area, of three different treatments: cutting, rolling and spraying with asulam. Two additional sites are planned for 2016, and a fourth treatment plot is proposed on each site using a weedwiper with glyphosate.
CAFRE is to be congratulated for setting up this work as it will provide very useful information about the control techniques in different settings around Northern Ireland. It is the only new work of this nature that I am aware of in the UK at the moment.
As part of my visit, I gave a presentation to two farmers meetings that had been set up by CAFRE in the hope of encouraging farmers to get to grips with the bracken on their farms. The ineligibility of bracken covered land for Single Farm Payment is adding an extra incentive to control bracken.
I will be keeping in touch with the development of the bracken control sites and I hope to be invited back to Northern Ireland to help interpret the results for all the owners and managers of bracken covered land in the Province.