Improving The Appearance of your Farm
At various times of the year farms are very busy places of work, and can quickly become untidy and unsafe. However, no matter how busy you are, you must be safety conscience and aim to keep your farm and farmyard neat and tidy at all times. Eamonn Dempsey, Teagasc Adviser has farm upkeep suggestions
Install farm safety notices: At the entrance gate and various points around the farm you must install farm safety notices to highlight the different hazards on the farm e.g. Slurry, Pesticides or beware of the bull.
Ensure ground surfaces are level to avoid trips or falls, check that gates are hanging properly and gutters/drain pipes are fit for purpose. The Health and Safety Authority reports that a number of fatal farm accidents are associated with slips/trips, bales falling and falling from heights.
Waste disposal: Considerable quantities of waste materials are generated by modern farming practices and their disposal should be carefully planned so as to avoid or minimise the risk of causing environmental pollution. These pose a threat to animal welfare as well as attracting vermin.
The burning of plastic is not permitted and certain plastics should be disposed of through a plastic recycling facility. Packaging, plastic or pallets which are reusable should be stored in a tidy fashion.
Chemical stores should be dry and easily cleaned, located away from flammables and fertiliser, have a warning sign on the door and locked when not in use.
Biodiversity around the farmyard
Biodiversity around the farmyard can be improved by installing suitable bird/bat boxes or planting a Traditional Irish Orchard. The maintenance of farm and field boundaries which contain stone walls, hedgerow and trees is important for wildlife and scenic appearance. Hedges, ditches and open drains are designated as landscape features for the purposes of the basic payment scheme so must be protected.
Under Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) of Cross Compliance farmers are obliged to keep their lands free from noxious weeds e.g. Ragwort and prevent encroachment of invasive species. Participants in the Glas Scheme had the option to apply for the Glas Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme to carry out approved conservation works including roofs, walls, structural repairs, windows and doors. The objective of the scheme is to ensure that traditional farm buildings are conserved, because of their contribution to the character of the landscape and local heritage.
Many buildings stick out like a sore thumb on the landscape, silver galvanized sheds can be seen for miles on sunny days. Good use of colour e.g. grey or green on roofs makes farm buildings appear smaller and blend in better with traditional farm buildings. The site of new farm buildings should be carefully chosen and integrated by grading earth banks and the planting of suitable trees and hedgerow.
Farmers became more aware of the features of historical and archaeological interest on their farms with the introduction of environmental schemes such as REPS and GLAS. We must ensure these archaeological features are preserved, as sites are under pressure to survive mechanised farming practices and changes in land use. If you find a previously unknown archaeological object or monument on your land, report it to the National Museum of Ireland or the National Monument Service immediately. It is important to assess your farm and farmyard to identify areas where visual appearance can be harmonised with the surrounding countryside.