Sunday, 23 November 2014

Northern Ireland: Bracken Control Demonstration Sites

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.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Northern Ireland - Bracken Control

I am in Northern Ireland for the next two days as a guest of the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). I will be giving a presentation about bracken control to a farming audience at Greenmount College tomorrow evening at 19:45 and again at a meeting in Cushendall on Wednesday evening (20:00 in the Old School House).

It will be an action packed couple of days. Tomorrow, I will be visiting Greenmount Hill Farm in the morning, and no doubt discussing a range of hill and upland issues, and then I am meeting the National Trust on the Murlough NNR to view the CAFRE Bracken Control Demonstration Plots. On Wednesday, I will be visiting three more areas that have CAFRE Bracken Control Demonstration Plots. These are on Antrim Estates land near Glenarm, and on two National Trust properties on the River Bann estuary near Portstewart, and at Whitepark.