Controlled Heather Burning and Bracken Control Information meeting

UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has teamed up with the D.A.B. Farmers’ Group to organise a ‘Controlled Heather Burning and Bracken Control’ information meeting on Monday 19th January at 7.45pm in the Benedy Community Centre.

Both farming organisations invite an experienced panel of speakers from the NI Fire and Rescue Service, CAFRE and the NI Environment Agency to discuss these important topics which many farmers will be familiar with having an impact on farming activity in hill areas.

Well managed heather is a great asset for many farms, providing an important source of forage for livestock as well as a habitat for wildlife in upland areas. The management of heather using controlled burning techniques is one of the oldest and important management tools farmers can use.

The NI Fire Service and the NI Environment Agency have jointly been working on an awareness campaign on controlled burning during 2014 and will be bringing their knowledge on the evening to help raise awareness of best practise when using controlled burning techniques, the assistance the Fire Service can provide for landowners and also how to minimise the impact on the wider environment.

CAFRE will also be providing an overview of some of the trials they are currently doing on bracken control techniques. Bracken has become a noted problem for many farmers in hill areas with the added costs of control and the general practical difficulties bracken creates having an impact on productive grazing areas for livestock and also land eligibility for Single Farm Payment,

UFU Hill Farming Chairman, Ian Buchanan said: “In conjunction with the D.A.B. Farmers’ Group we have invited a strong line up of speakers who will bring their expert knowledge on these two important matters. Controlled heather burning and bracken control are important considerations for farmers managing land in hill areas and we would like to extend a warm welcome to all farmers in the surrounding areas to an evening which should prove informative.”