Linking production with the environment

Stephen Chambers, Annahilt, Co Down inspecting young trees in his new woodland area
Stephen Chambers, Annahilt, Co Down inspecting young trees in his new woodland area

Stephen Chambers farms the family farm near Annahilt in Co Down.

He keeps a herd of Limousin cross suckler cows and produces Aberdeen Angus calves with all calves finished as beef.

The farm is low lying and Stephen has land around a lake which is very wet in places and difficult to farm. Parts are dominated with willow creating wet woodland.

Stephen said: “I have always sought to balance production along with the environment on this farm.”

He was in the old Countryside management scheme and is now in the new Environmental Farming Scheme. He has planted 0.66ha of new Wet Native woodland and stated that: “It is marginal land, with limited value to the cattle and planting it is good for the environment and will ease livestock management as they have been fenced out of this area of the lake.”

This is one example of practical work which can be undertaken on farms to help the environment. It will help capture carbon, provide a habitat for wildlife, provide shelter and shade, stabilise the land and have the added benefit of providing an attractive landscape feature.

Stephen has also planted one ha of wild bird cover, greatly increasing the bird life on the farm. He has fenced off livestock access to 1,600 metres of water course on the farm protecting this valuable resource.

Stephen is confident that this work will help the local environment, make a contribution towards reducing climate change and benefit the management of his farm for many years to come.