Over 81,000 hedgerow shrubs and native Irish trees have been planted across the country since December as part of Glanbia’s Operation Biodiversity.

This means the two-year target for the first phase of the programme has been met in just five months.

Whitethorn, green beech, blackthorn and oak trees have been planted as part of the iniatitive, which was subsidised by Glanbia.

Phase two

Phase two of the programme aims to increase clover in grass swards.

Increasing clover levels can allow nitrogen application rates to reduce while maintaining grass yield.

Increased clover not only helps to reduce emissions from fertilisers, but also methane emissions, as clover can improve passage rate in the rumen.

Glanbia Ireland chair John Murphy said: “Operation Biodiversity II is all about maximising grass growth, incorporating clover and creating biodiversity spaces, including around farmyards, farm laneways, field margins, arable margins, watercourse margins, field corners and roadside verges.

“It’s a win-win for farmers, as they can increase the biodiversity value of a farm, while maintaining productivity,” he said.

Senior sustainability manager Thomas Ryan commented: “From a sustainability standpoint, clover has the ability to improve the environmental credentials of our farms, reducing input requirements and reducing nitrous oxide emissions, as well as having the added benefit of contributing to water quality improvements,” he said.