Thursday, 30 April 2015

Country Market & Sporting Sale

The bidding on the auction website is becoming fierce.  If you have not yet looked at the fantastic range of Lots on offer, or if you are biding your time waiting to submit the killer bid, your time is running out.  The Sale closes at 12 noon tomorrow.

Please show your support for what the Trust does by bidding furiously.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Summer Meeting at Invermark - 5 June 2015

With thanks to Lord Dalhouse and Richard Cooke for their offer of hospitality, I had a great visit to Invermark today to set up for the Forum's Summer meeting at Invermark.  The programme for the meeting will be discussed at the Chairman's Working Group meeting on 22 May, but it is likely to include a business meeting for Forum members, followed by a discussion meeting to address issues that are relevant to the management of Invermark.  Some guests will be invited to the discussion meeting and we will visit an area of the estate in the afternoon.  It promises to be a fascinating and informative meeting.

I took the photo today and it provides an indication of what we will see in June, weather permitting.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Northern Ireland: Aerial Spraying Workshop - 29 April 2015

This is the press release issued by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, today.

Bracken is found throughout Northern Ireland on a range of land types. It is a very invasive weed which can severely reduce the grazing value of land by smothering other plants.

It is important to note that land with Bracken cover is not eligible for land area based schemes. The area of bracken must be deducted even when bracken is present in only part of a field for 2-3 months of the year.

Bracken is often found on steep areas of land which are not accessible to machinery. Aerial spraying in these situations can be a useful option to control this weed however there are specific legal obligations before, during and after applying pesticides by air. It is essential to note that consent is required from the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) in all cases and if planning aerial spraying on environmentally designated sites consent from Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is also required.

As a result of a high level of interest in bracken control including aerial spraying CAFRE is hosting a Bracken Aerial Spraying Workshop on Wednesday 29th April 2015 at Greenmount Campus. This event will take place in the Conference Hall and participants have the choice of attending either in the afternoon or in the evening - workshop times are as follows:

Afternoon workshop at 2.30pm, or evening workshop at 7.00pm

An aerial spraying contractor will be present at both workshops and will describe the service provided, which includes looking after the paperwork. Please come along to meet the contractor and to hear about the packages that are on offer for the 2015 aerial spraying season.

If you plan to attend could you please contact CAFRE’s Development Service Admin, Greenmount Campus on 028 9442 6770 or e-mail: to register for this event. Please state which workshop you hope to attend.

Everyone is welcome and if you require further information on this event please e-mail:

Monday, 20 April 2015

Country Market & Sporting Sale - closes at 12 noon on 1 May 2015

I need say no more than is summarised in the strikingly-coloured announcement below.  The bidding on some Lots is getting fierce already.  Also, make sure you do not miss out on the Prize Draw and the opportunity to win a stalking holiday for two in Dumfries & Galloway - all for a stake of £10.

The income all this raises for the Trust provides us with the ability to tackle the important issues that are unfunded.  Please get stuck in.

It is not too late to show your support for what we do by donating something for us to sell!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Northern Ireland: Bracken Aerial Spraying workshop

The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise is organising a workshop to consider aerial control of bracken at the Greenmount Campus on 29 April.  Andrew McGillivray from PDG Helicopters will be in attendance; he is offering a package to landowners that includes completing all the relevant CRD / NIEA Consent paperwork etc.

I will publish any additional details about times that I receive, but in the meantime, I suggest that anyone interested should contact CAFRE for further details.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Heather Beetle alert

This year's adult heather beetles are out and about, as the recent spell of warm weather has provided the trigger for the adults to come out of hibernation.  The adults will do what adult beetles do and the eggs will be laid, next month.  It is the larvae from these eggs that will do the damage to heather in July and August.

We are receiving reports of adult beetles on the wing from many parts of the country.  The number of reports is larger than normal, therefore does this mean that there are more adults about, or that our survey has started to raise the awareness of our members and supporters, or a bit of both?

More reports, please.

Our heather beetle survey is running again this year that will allow you to follow the reports of beetle damage, as we receive them.  For more information see the heather beetle webpage or our recent Talking Point article.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Beware Wildfire

The weather may be on the change, but there is still a considerable risk of wildfire incidents this weekend, although with rain falling and/or forecast the risk in Scotland is dropping, but England and Wales have yet to see this rain.

See the BBC News website for details of incidents in Scotland, at Dornoch and Keith and the Manchester Evening News for details of a fire on Saddleworth Moor.  The latter report includes some great photographs in the gallery (do not bother with the video, as it is very disappointing!) that illustrate the problems associated with fighting moorland fires using equipment designed for the urban environment.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Livestock grazing ‘vital’ to preserve uplands

Hill Farm, Arkengarthdale - Yorkshire Post
For a more authoritative report on the 10-year study described in the previous post, see the article published by the James Hutton Institute.

The ecologists are reported to have conducted a "long-term, landscape-scale experiment looking at the consequences of livestock management on multiple plant and animal groups that consume each other within an upland ‘food-web’".  The aim "was not to determine a single approach to livestock grazing that would result in a ‘win-win’ situation for all species, but rather an approach that provided the best possible trade-off between ‘winners’ and losers’".