Three grant aid schemes open targeting forestry biodiversity
Grant aid will now be available for maintaining a continuous forestry cover, deer fencing and thinning forests as part of a plan to improve forest biodiversity in Ireland

Three new measures to support biodiversity in Irish forestry have been announced today by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle.

Speaking on the new measures, Minister Doyle said they were part of the midterm review of the national forestry programme which aimed to support biodiversity.

Further details on all three schemes can be found on the Department’s website.

Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF)

This support will aim to encourage the production of commercial timber while retaining forest cover at all times.

The distinctive element of CCF is the avoidance of clearfelling areas greater than 0.25ha or more than two tree heights wide without the retention of some mature trees.

The scheme will comprise a CCF Transformation Management Plan that will run for a period of 12 years with three instalments of €750 occurring at intervals throughout the 12-year period.

Commenting on the new CCF measure, Minister of State Doyle said: “This initiative will transform forests into uneven aged and permanent woodlands enriching the biodiversity of these habitats and enhancing the landscape.”

Deer Tree Shelter and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme

The Deer Tree Shelter (DTS) scheme aims to support landowners who wish to plant broadleaves in areas where there is a risk of deer damage.

All three species of deer in Ireland are capable of inflicting serious damage to trees, sika deer, fallow deer and red deer. This damage can occur through grazing the foliage of young trees, bark stripping or fraying damage from antlers.

Broadleaves in particular are vulnerable to significant deer damage.

Minister Doyle said the scheme underpinned the Department’s determination to increase broadleaf planting to at least 30% of overall planting in a given year.

Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS)

The WIS is to be changed to introduce grant aid to carry out a second thinning intervention for broadleaf forests.

This aims to enable more light to penetrate the forest canopy and reach the forest floor, thereby allowing plants to re-colonise the forest area.

Grant aid for the first thinning intervention remains at €750/ha, while funding for the second intervention is capped at €500/ha.

Survey: what do you expect from green fertilisers?
Cork academics researching the potential of recycling waste into fertilisers want to hear from farmers on their requirements for these products.

Cork Institute of Technology is running an online survey to collect farmers' views on recycling-derived fertiliser, which includes processed animal manure, urban waste including household food waste, catering waste or green cuttings from recreational areas as well as human waste in the form of sewage sludge.

Import-reliant

"Currently, crop production in the EU is heavily dependent on the import of P-containing [phosphoros] mineral fertilisers, while the production of mineral N [nitrogen] fertiliser requires large amounts of energy," the academics said.

"Paradoxically, however, there are several regions with a nutrient surplus in northwestern Europe," the academics said.

Technologies to recover nutrients from waste are available on the market

Their research is part of an EU-funded project looking into the potential of recycled fertilisers across Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany.

Technologies to recover nutrients from waste are available on the market, but researchers said that until now they have remained little-used by farmers.

Requirements

"It is essential that the end product fulfils farmers’ requirements," said Cork IT lecturer Niamh Power.

"The objective of the survey is to determine the desired properties recycling-derived fertilisers are required to have, to encourage their use over mineral fertilisers.

"This is a great opportunity for the farming community to have their voice heard about what they consider important."

Click here to take the survey, which comprises of 29 questions and takes around 15 minutes to complete.

Read more

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Fertiliser makers seek new import duties

The farmer's daily wrap: inspections, milk price and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for 16 February 2019.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that there will be some mist or drizzle at times on Saturday morning, but most places will be dry during the day.

More general rain is forecast to develop along the west coast by evening.

It will be mild and breezy, with highs of 10°C to 12°C in southerly winds.

In the news

  • In pictures: silage 2019 kicks off in February in Kilkenny.
  • The board of Aurivo met on Friday and increased its January milk price.
  • Farmers are being driven out of business by over-zealous and unaccountable inspectors, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said.
  • Applications for the BEEP scheme, which has a funding provision of €20m, will be accepted up to and including next Friday 22 February.
  • Some 66 projects from across the country will be allocated funding of €62m under the €1bn rural regeneration and development fund.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Nathan Tuffy reports from Balla Mart.
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