CAFRE are holding a rush control event on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 starting in Plumbridge Parochial Hall and then moving on to a nearby farm, writes Jayne Mooney, Sustainable Land Management Branch, CAFRE.
Farmers can choose from a 2pm afternoon session or a 6.30pm evening session.
Heavy soft rush infestation not only reduces the quality of grazing and the stock carrying capacity of the land but is also detrimental to biodiversity. Where rush is present it is very important to consider if the eligibility of land for DAERA area-based schemes is affected.
Rush management is a key issue in the successful management of breeding wader sites. 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. However, it is important to get the correct balance as severe infestations can have very negative implications for wildlife as well as grazing potential.
Controlling rush with pesticides can have a serious impact on water quality. The commonly used herbicide MCPA is a particular problem in Northern Ireland and it is essential that best practice and advice is followed when spraying rush. As opposed to spraying MCPA across an entire field area, weed wiping with Glyphosate gives good results and applies herbicide to the rush only. This reduces the amount of chemical used as well as eliminating any loss of herbicide through spray drift.
The CAFRE Rush Control Technology Project has been demonstrating and comparing topping, liming, spraying and weed-wiping control methods for five years and the results will be discussed on the farm site where trial plots can be viewed.
Topics of land eligibility, biodiversity benefits of control, pesticide law changes and opportunities within the Environmental Farming Scheme (Wider Level) particularly for water quality will also be discussed with CAFRE staff.
Registration for the event is online through the CAFRE website: www.cafre.ac.uk/short-courses/rush-control/ For further enquiries, please contact CAFRE Industry Training at 028 9442 6880.