A well managed heather habitat is a very valuable resource to have on any farm as it provides valuable grazing for cattle and sheep. Heather moorland forms a distinctive component of the landscape and is a very important wildlife habitat.
Heather moorland can be kept in good condition by carefully controlling grazing, however, heather regeneration is often required when it becomes over mature.
Techniques to encourage regeneration include burning or flailing blocks in a planned sequence.
The aim is to produce a patchwork pattern with a range of heather ages which will increase grazing quality, encourage livestock to graze the whole area, prevent regenerating blocks from being overgrazed and provide an excellent habitat for wildlife including red grouse.
Heather burning is controlled by law and it must not be carried out between 15 April and 31 August.
Burning must not take place on designated sites without written consent from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).CAFRE are running a practical Heather Management training event on Friday 30 September at Greenmount Hill Farm, Glenwherry, commencing at 10.30am.
The training event will commence with brief presentations by CAFRE, NIEA, DAERA Countryside Management Advisors, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) and the Irish Grouse Conservation Trust (IGCT).
Presentations will be followed by a practical demonstration which will include heather management by flailing and a heather burning demonstration which will cover best practice.
If you would like to attend this training event, please book online at http://www.cafre.ac.uk/industry-support/industry-training/agri-environment-topics/heathermanagement.
If you have any queries, please call CAFRE Industry Training on 028 9442 6880.