Government Must Support High Nature Value Farming


High Nature Value farmers are making great sacrifices to preserve crucial national heritage and biodiversity

Government Must Support High Nature Value Farming

  • ADDED
  • 4 years ago

High Nature Value farmers are making great sacrifices to preserve crucial national heritage and biodiversity

Wherever you go in Ireland small potato ridges mark the hills as a reminder of how farming has changed. In some parts of the country, farmers still carry on with the old methods. Such practises are highly valued both from tourism and heritage perspectives, because they are working examples of a farming model that is thousands of years old. As many wildlife species evolved alongside humans and adapted to survive in these farming systems, mechanisation hit them hard.

We all know about the corncrake whose habit of nesting in meadows meant it lost out to early silage harvesting. Similarly, nine indigenous plant species have been registered as extinct, two more are artificially maintained and seven others are critically endangered. These latter include meadow saffron, cottonweed, rough poppy and two types of saxifrage. Fifty-two further plant species are endangered, including the cornflower, little robin, bog orchid and the Kerry lily. Many species are highly specialised, for example the orange-tipped butterfly prefers to lay its eggs on cuckoo-flowers or garlic mustard. Reduction in plant diversity is thus mirrored by animal losses.

High Nature Value (HNV) Farming is a non-intensive method of farming intended to bolster native wildlife by promoting traditional methods. For example, meadows become rich in wildlife if they are not heavily fertilized and only cut at summer's end, when wild-flowers have set their seed and ground-nesting birds like skylarks have finished breeding. Of course this affects yield, but the nutrient content of hay or silage from diversely populated meadows is much higher, especially with regard to trace elements.

HNV designation has been identified as a means of compensating farmers for adopting wildlife-friendly practises. Much of the North-West has already been designated HNV but, so far, HNV farming has been more of a talkshop than an action station. There have been numerous conferences and papers published discussing its merits, but little financial support. Farmers in Glas who qualify for HNV receive extra payments, but these do not match previous compensation under REPS. If the government and the EU are serious about HNV they will need to put their money where their mouth is and properly support HNV farmers, who are making great sacrifices to preserve crucial national heritage and biodiversity.

Similar Articles

Comments


The Marts Forecast
The Marts Forecast
Click to View Weekly Mart Schedules
SELECT LIVESTOCK

Cattle Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Birr
  • Carrigallen
  • Granard
  • Elphin
  • Inishowen
  • Manorhamilton
  • Stranolar
  • Tuam

Tuesday

  • Ballina
  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Enniscorthy
  • Fermoy
  • Nenagh

Wednesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballinrobe
  • Elphin
  • Granard
  • Kilrush
  • Nenagh

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Birr
  • Castlerea
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Friday

  • Donegal
  • Gort
  • Kilfenora
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Tullow

Saturday

  • Balla
  • Carnew
  • Carrigallen
  • Dowra
  • Loughrea
  • Maam Cross
  • Mohill
  • New Ross
  • Scariff
  • Tullow

Sheep Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Carrigallen
  • Elphin
  • Fermoy
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Tuesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballina
  • Donegal
  • Ennis
  • Inishowen
  • Tuam
  • Tullow

Wednesday

  • Ballinrobe
  • Enniscorthy
  • Gort
  • Manorhamilton
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Stranorlar

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Carnew
  • Loughrea

Friday

  • Dowra

Saturday

  • New Ross
  • Maam Cross

Dairy Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Kilkenny

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy (2nd Wednesday Of Month)

Thursday

Friday

  • Fermoy

Saturday

Calf Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

Tuesday

  • Kilkenny

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy

Thursday

Friday

Saturday