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We need to talk about hedge cutting

We need to talk about hedge cutting

We need to get farmers and hedge cutting contractors talking about best practice hedge management. Farmers and contractors need to have a conversation in order to change the perception of a well-kept hedge. Francis Quigley Teagasc Specialist has some advice

Main Picture - Francis Quigley, Teagasc Machinery Specialist with Liam and Geralding Herlihy, Kingsland, Bruree, Co Limerick

The contractor is going to do whatever the farmer wants done. Farmers need to pick up the phone, talk to the contractor and explain what they want and contractors will deliver.

What contractors need to do

When the farmer rings to asks them to come along and cut the hedges, they need to ask the farmer what way do they want the hedges cut. Ask questins such as:

  • Do you need to have thorn trees left in the hedge?
  • Do you want extra height in the hedges?
  • Do you want the hedges to be fit for birds and bees?

Hedge cutting contractor Liam Herlihy, is also a dairy farmer along with his wife Geraldine in Kingsland, Bruree, Co Limerick. They started contracting fifteen years ago. Liam changed his hedge cutting practice from leaving a flat top to what Liam calls an ‘A roof’, while still cutting the growing point of the hedge. He decided that for the sake of the birds and the environment, he would change hedge cutting practice.

As a contractor Liam hopes that farmers and contractors can communicate better. ‘Most years we come in and there’s nothing said and we cut the hedge as the hedge has always been cut. Going forward hopefully farmers will make a change and we’ll talk and communicate better, that way we can get stronger hedges, thicker hedges and better for the environment’.

As a contractor Liam will cut the hedge anyway the farmer wants - as long as he knows.