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Innovative model showing important roles of forestry on farm

Innovative model showing important roles of forestry on farm
Pictured are some of the Teagasc forestry team at todays National Ploughing Championships showcasing a model which demonstrates how forestry can be integrated on a farm. From left to right are Arthur Kierans; Forestry Technician; Derek Gibson, Forestry Technician; Tom Houlihan, Forestry Specialist and Dr Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of Forestry Department

“Farm enterprises such as dairy, beef, sheep or tillage are central to the Irish farm. The complimentary farm enterprise of forestry can provide a number of important supporting roles,” says Richard Walsh, Teagasc Forestry Liaison Officer.

Richard spearheaded the development of a three-dimensional model of a farm to be used as a knowledge transfer tool. He explains; “The 3-D model illustrates the various roles that trees and forestry can contribute to an Irish farm. Their contribution ranges from commercial Sitka spruce growing on more marginal land, native woodland and agroforestry plots, to the ‘Woodland for Water’ measure providing valuable wooded habitats along rivers.”

He adds, “The model also shows how wood products grown on the farm can be put to good use such as the rafters of the farm shed, gates and fencing stakes.”

Nuala NiFhlatharta, Head of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department agrees, “This three-dimensional model illustrates very well the wide-ranging benefits of having forestry on the farm as a complimentary enterprise and will prove to be a very useful communication tool. The model also acts to emphasise the importance of whole farm planning, highlighting how a well-planned forest resource may contribute from an economic, environmental and social perspective.”

In addition, at this year’s Ploughing, a mini-forest has been created in the outdoor area of the Teagasc stand with a mix of broadleaves and conifers and an understorey of forest plants. These will be complimented by processed logs of Sitka spruce, birch and alder. A member of the Teagasc forestry advisory team will be on hand to answer questions from the public and will also participate in short Q&As throughout the day.

In the indoor area, the educational value of the forestry forwarder and harvester simulator will be demonstrated. This may encourage some visitors to the Teagasc stand to consider a career in forestry and train at Ballyhaise College. Teagasc forestry staff will be available to answer financial queries, provide technical advice or explain important forestry research.

To find out more on how forestry can make your farm more viable, come and see us at the Teagasc stand at Block 3, Row 20, Stand 437.