Rush cover has become a major problem throughout Northern Ireland in the past few years.
Rush is an herbaceous, low-nutrient plant which is commonly found in areas of high rainfall with heavy acidic soils.
Heavy infestations of rush can damage priority habitats and will also reduce the quality of grazing and the stock carrying capacity of the land.
Where rush is present it is very important to consider if the eligibility of land for area based schemes is affected.
However, it is important to note that small areas of rush in fields are beneficial for ground nesting birds such as curlew and snipe as cover is required for nests and to provide protection for their chicks.
Rush also provides cover for the Irish hare so it is about getting the correct balance as severe infestations can have very negative implications for wildlife.
Fields with over one third rush cover require management to achieve a better balance between open space and cover.
Controlling rush with pesticides can also have a serious impact on water quality in watercourses as the herbicide MCPA is a particular problem in Northern Ireland and it is essential that best practice and advice is followed when spraying rush.
CAFRE Rush Technology Project
In 2014 CAFRE established four rush technology project sites across Northern Ireland to demonstrate different rush control methods.
This project is expected to run for four years and monitoring takes place throughout each growing season.
Cutting, weed wiping with glyphosate, spraying with MCPA and liming have taken place at each demonstration site and there is also an untreated plot for comparison.
To update everyone on findings to date, CAFRE are holding a Practical Rush Management Event as follows:
Venue: Cromm Estate, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, BT92 8AP
Date: Thursday 22 September 2016
Choice of two sessions:
Afternoon session – commencing at 2pm
Evening session – commencing at 5pm
The training event will cover the following topics:
* The importance of controlling rush;
* Land area based schemes – Rush eligibility
* Rush control options
* The CAFRE Rush Control Technology Project – Findings to date;
* Pesticide law changes covering Sprayer Application Equipment Testing;
* MCPA and its impact on water quality – NI Water
* Practical rush control machinery demonstrations - which will include rush cutting with tractor and quad flail cutters and weed wiping with tractor/quad weed wipers.
If you would like to attend, please book online indicating which session you would like to attend. To book please visit: http://www.cafre.ac.uk/industry-support/industry-training/agri-environment-topics/rush-control
If you have any queries, please call CAFRE Industry Training on 028 9442 6880.