What are you doing on your farm to protect the environment?
Sustainability has become a 'buzz word' and one way of explaining it is that sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present while also ensuring the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Sustainability as a concept encompasses three key elements; economy, environment and society. An example of a sustainable agricultural system would be a profitable system with little or no impact on the environment and one which has a social licence. This social licence refers to the publics’ perception and approval of practices in agriculture such as animal welfare, and environmental standards.
'Sustainability' is here to stay and environmental sustainability at farm level is increasingly important. Every small practical action to improve the soil, air, water and biodiversity on your farm contributes to meeting the needs of future generations.
Media articles relating to the topic of 'Sustainability'
- Simple steps towards 'Sustainability' (pdf) 2022
- Benefiting biodiversity alongside an equine enterprise (pdf) 2021
- Planting hedges for a sustainable future (pdf) 2021
- Good land management is key in protecting water (pdf) 2021
- Sustainable Equine Farming (pdf) 2021
- Bee's are everyone's concern (pdf) 2020)
- Small Woodlands - Big Benefits (pdf) 2020
- Reduce water pollution on your farm (pdf) 2020
Springtime is a good time to consider actions for the year ahead. There are a variety of options to consider including planting a new hedge or some trees, assessing soil fertility, and fertilising wisely while also protecting any watercourses on the farm. Targeting early turnout, weather and ground conditions depending is a good target to have.
Soil and Fertiliser Advice
Farmers are being urged to focus on nutrient management planning, optimisation of soil fertility, using organic manures strategically and increasing clover in swards, all balanced with prudent fertiliser usage. While increasing clover use is not something equine farms are encouraged to do, the other management aspects mentioned all merit adoption by equine owners. Good grassland management is a key component of horse production as it ensures good quality grass during the grazing season, the production of quality forage to meet winter feed requirements, and healthier horses.
Read more here
Planting Hedgerows and Trees
When thinking of planting a new hedge, you must first decide if you want a hedge with a dense base that will be regularly topped OR if you want a line of trees that will never be topped.
There are two distinct hedge types in Ireland. Both types are good, but each requires totally different management. A lack of understanding of each hedge type leads to inappropriate management and damage to hedges. Ideally each farm should have both types of hedges present – to maximise biodiversity benefits.
How to take soil samples
The results of a soil analysis are only as good as the sample on which it is based. To give reliable advice, a soil sample must be representative of the area sampled and be taken to a uniform depth (10cm).