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Teagasc Farmland Flora and Fauna Seminar

A large crowd of farmers, agricultural advisers and those involved in agri-environment heard about the wide range of native wildlife found on Irish farms at a Teagasc Farmland Flora and Fauna seminar held in Birr, Co. Offaly today, Monday, 11 June 2012.

Speakers from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, UCD, BirdWatch Ireland, Bat Conservation Ireland, and the MISE project discussed grasses, flowering plants, trees, bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other small mammals. Raising awareness of our native farmland wildlife is the objective, according to Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist. “It is important that we understand our farmland flora and fauna so that we can look for appropriate well funded agri-environment measures that will maintain our flora and fauna.”

A book entitled The Grasses of Ireland by John Feehan, Helen Sheridan and Damian Egan, produced by Teagasc in association with the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, was launched during the Farmland Flora and Fauna event. This book is available to purchase from Teagasc, Oak Park.

Grassland is so commonplace we hardly notice it. Yet it is our most important vegetation type – it covers most of the landmass. Horse racing, football, hurling, golf, tennis, and bowling are all played on grass surfaces. We see grass on road and railway verges, surrounding houses and hotels and of course small patches of lawn front and back in most urban housing. We use grass to improve our immediate living areas and to create a sense of contented settlement and comfortable surroundings. This book is intended for farmers, agriculturalists, horticulturalists, botanists, green-keepers, teachers, students and anyone who wishes to know more about our unique suite of Irish grasses.

There are over 10,000 species of grasses in the world and they are the fourth largest plant family. Grasses account for seventy per cent of the crops grown in the world and three species, the cereals, account for more than half of the calories consumed by the world’s population. They are the principal food of cattle, sheep, horses and other farm animals.