Farming & Fisheries

Ballinspittle farmer shares the many benefits of agroforestry

July 24th, 2022 11:40 AM

At the DAFM Agroforestry farm walk at Coolbane, Ballinspittle, were hosts Micheál and Aoife O’Donovan. (Photo: O’Gorman Photography)

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A BALLINSPITTLE farmer has taken to planting trees across a 2.4ha area of pasture in an attempt to improve both the quality of the land and safety on his farm.

Micheál O’Donovan and family have a beef and sheep farm and selected the area for silvopasture last year for their lowland sheep flock.

The Irish Agroforestry Forum (IAF) recently held a walk on the farm to help promote agroforestry and share knowledge. The farm walk was held as part of an Agroforestry Education and Promotion Project funded under the Woodland Support Scheme provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM). The project is currently staging a number of events to promote the multiple benefits that trees can bring for livestock.

DAFM Inspector Eugene Curran and Teagasc Forestry Advisors Tom Houlihan and Noel Kennedy were at the event and shared their agroforestry knowledge and experience with all who attended.Other participants included IAF members, farmers, agricultural support organisation staff and also interested members of the public.

‘This was a brilliant event, there’s no learning quite like chatting to the people who are doing it,’ said Keeley McGarr O’Brien, a member of the Irish Agroforestry Forum. ‘It was such a good chance to meet other agroforestry enthusiasts too!’

The ground in question has a steep slope and Micheál felt that planting it would bring benefits to his sheep and also improve farm safety as a tractor would not be used on the high ground anymore.

Trees on pasture can provide shade, shelter, nutrients and worm prevention when animals can browse the tree leaves and also improve nutrient cycling and overall farm environment.

People interested in agroforestry and learning more about how it can benefit their farms can take out membership of the IAF on www.irishagroforestry.ie.

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