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Biodiversity Farm Walk in Wexford


Colm Doran, Teagasc advisor, Gorey extends an open invitation to what promises to be an informative evening at a Biodiversity Farm Walk on the dairy farm of Alan & Cheryl Poole on Wednesday, 20th July at 7pm near Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford. Attendees will see good on-farm biodiversity in practice

Intensification of agriculture over the last number of decades has led to a dramatic change in agricultural production methods. There is an increased focus now on the impact some of these changes have had on native biodiversity. The challenge going forward for farmers in improving environmental credentials include farming in a manner which can provide a sustainable income, while improving farmland biodiversity and water quality; and reducing Greenhouse Gas and ammonia emissions.

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Biodiversity Farm Walk - Alan & Cheryl Poole 

Wednesday 20th July 2022

Event Time: 7.00pm

Venue: Farm of Alan & Cheryl Poole, Ballyowen, Craanford, Gorey, Co Wexford Y25Y199

Education and knowledge exchange are central to improving the capabilities of farmers to address these challenges. On Wednesday 20th July at 7pm, there is a farm walk focussed on sharing knowledge about farm biodiversity practices that can co-exist within a productive farm.

Alan & Cheryl Poole are the willing hosts for this event. They run a dairy herd comprising 72 spring calving cows with replacements in Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford. Both Alan & Cheryl have their own reasons for trying to improve their farmland biodiversity practices.

Alan comments: ‘We run an intensive dairy farm and we have always had an interest in biodiversity and nature.  It’s a privilege to be out working and hear bees busily working away, or spot a buzzard in the sky. It is no secret how important it is to care for the environment and protect our pollinators at this time.

‘This is something we have been trying to do and educating ourselves about over the years.  We took the opportunity to host this farm walk to help raise awareness and interest on the importance of biodiversity. We hope it will provide a learning opportunity for ourselves and others, as to how to maximise the opportunities for nature.  

Our goal is efficiency in farming, with a view to creating space for nature and time with our family’.

All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Among participating bodies who will be involved in the farm walk this Wednesday will be the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Ruth Wilson, Farmland Pollinator Officer with the All Ireland Pollinator Plan comments,: ‘The second phase of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is for 2021 to 2025 and is implemented by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have supported the role of a Farmland Pollinator Officer to help deliver the actions.

The Plan aims to make farmland pollinator friendly:

  1. Increase the amount of farmland that is managed in a pollinator friendly way
  2. Encourage the sustainable use of pesticides (insecticides, fungicides and herbicides)
  3. Provide clear information and training on pollinators to the farming community
  4. Raise awareness and celebrate pollinator diversity on farmland
  5. Track changes in pollinators on farmland.

‘The good news is that by adopting simple changes and encouraging nature-friendly farming practices, we can help farmland pollinators and biodiversity.

There are five evidence-based actions to help make farmland more pollinator friendly: 

  1. Maintain native flowering hedgerows 
  2. Allow flowers to grow around the farm
  3. Provide nesting places for wild bees
  4. Minimise artificial fertiliser use
  5. Reduce pesticide inputs

‘We are delighted to be working with Alan and Cheryl Poole, their enthusiasm for helping biodiversity on their dairy farm is just great; and I am looking forward to meeting and chatting to local farmers in the Gorey area on Wednesday 20th July’

Teagasc and ACRES

Details of the new ACRES scheme has been released recently and staff from the local Teagasc office will be on hand to present the options available for farmers. The scheme has a particular emphasis on habitat establishment and management, whereas previous schemes such as GLAS & REPS were mainly focussed on species specific actions.

Environmental Implementation Programmes

Among some successful initiatives which provided funding for farmers were Environmental Implementation Programmes. We are delighted to be able to welcome representatives from the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme and the Ballymoney Community Group which is focussing on enhancing biodiversity in the Ballymoney stream catchment.

Every watercourse is providing a habitat for living flora and fauna, with stream ecology being the most commonly used benchmark to monitor water quality. With Alan & Cheryl’s farm bordering the Bann River, the Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme team will be there to demonstrate the ecology of the river on the farm, and what measures farmers can take to enhance the ‘good’ ecology contained within their waters. 

Participating groups

Representatives for the following programmes will also be present on the evening:

  • Wexford Barn Owl Project,
  • Wexford Bat Group,
  • Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club,
  • the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland.

All are welcome to what promises to be an informative evening.

Find out more about Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme | Find out about Biodiversity & Countryside

Teagasc Advisors are regular contibutors of articles here on Teagasc Daily. If you require any help or advice on biodiversity or environmental schemes contact your local advisor at your Teagasc Advisory Office here: Advisory Regions.