Teagasc will host a range of events for contractors, farmers and other stakeholders this week in order to highlight best practice in hedgerow maintenance which provides the ideal environment for birds and pollinators.
Teagasc Hedgerow Week 2019 was officially launched yesterday, Monday, October 21st) by Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at Teagasc Kildalton Agriculture and Horticulture College.
Launching Teagasc Hedgerow Week, Minister Andrew Doyle said: “Hedgerows are important habitats for wildlife and play an important role in maintaining and improving the biodiversity in our countryside.”
“I am delighted to launch this initiative and urge all farmers and contractors to follow best practice when maintaining hedges.”
Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist, Catherine Keena, said: “We are asking contractors and farmers who are trimming hedges to shape the hedge to a triangular profile from a wider base to allow light at the base, leaving the peak at least 1.5 metres (5-foot) from ground level, or the top of the hedge bank, and allow occasional thorn saplings to grow up into individual trees.”
This, she added, will create the ideal conditions for birds to nest, providing cover from predators above and below the nest, and providing flowers in summer for bees and other pollinators, and berries in autumn for birds and small mammals.
Catherine stressed “the quest for neatness and tidiness should not override ecological considerations”.
Hedge-cutting contractor event
Francis Quigley, Machinery Specialist with Teagasc-based at Kildalton, said: “We have met the contractor organisations, Farm Contractors Ireland (FCI) and PAC Ireland and they are very supportive of this initiative.”
“We also have the support of FTMTA (Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association).”
On Wednesday of this week, a hedge-cutting contractor event will be held at Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, County Limerick.
A working demonstration of hedge cutting will take place and a range of hedge cutting equipment will be on display.”
Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle added: “Hedgerows give the Irish landscape its distinctive character and field pattern.”
“They provide important wildlife habitat for woodland flora and fauna, comprising invaluable networks for nature throughout the farmed landscape.”
“Increasing the variety of hedgerow types in terms of height, width and shape promotes diversity in flora and fauna,” Boyle concluded.
The hedgerow maintenance period runs from September 1st to the end of February.