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Hedge cutting advice

Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Francis Quigley, Teagasc Machinery Specialist

Padraig McCormack, Teagasc Dairy Advisor Moorepark

What Teagasc advise farmers on hedge cutting depends on the hedge type. Firstly, any escaped hedges which have grown up into a line of trees – Teagasc advise to side trim only and not to top. Secondly for any hedges that have been topped, Teagasc advise to let them grow up to a height of 1.5m or up to the height the hedge cutter can reach. And also it is advised to leave a thorn sapling in each hedge to grow to a thorn tree. For farmers in Derogation that means one in every 300 m.

Dairy farmer Tony Mullins Ballybeg Mitchelstown with his Teagasc advisor Padraig McCormack Moorepark

Dairy farmer Tony Mullins, Ballybeg, Mitchelstown, farms with his wife Noelle. They avail of the Nitrates Derogation and rear all calves to beef along with dairy replacements. Tony likes hedges on the farm. They are a great source of shelter for animals – shelter for the birds, a food source and nesting habitat for birds and small mammals that live in the hedges.

They are important for water in times of heavy rainfall – they slow down the flow of water, and a good source of food in the autumn for the birds with all the berries. Tony has always had a keen interest in managing their own hedges.

Tony to have his farm aesthetically pleasing is important, and the consumer is looking for biodiversity and sustainability. Tony thinks that going forward, that’s the way we’ll have to manage our hedges.