Tickets for the farm walk can be booked by clicking here.

Next week’s farm walk by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) group ‘Multi-species Swards (MSS) for Beef and Sheep’ will examine the opportunities presented by multi-species swards.  The event will be held on the farm of group member Dale Orr in Strangford, County Down.

Host farmer Dale Orr standing in a pure herbal ley containing red clover, white clover, plantain and chicory (no grass)
Host farmer Dale Orr standing in a pure herbal ley containing red clover, white clover, plantain and chicory (no grass)

 

AgriSearch General Manager Jason Rankin said:

“Farmers are facing many challenges including the rising cost of fertilisers, anthelmintic resistance and extremes of weather, as well as demands to reduce their carbon footprint and improve biodiversity.  Research results from other parts of the British Isles and further afield have indicated that multi-species swards present an opportunity to address many of these challenges through reduced need for artificial fertilisers, resilience to weather extremes (particularly drought), improved soil quality and carbon sequestration, reduced need for anthelmintics and enhanced biodiversity above and below ground.”

Over the past year the EIP Group, whose activities are jointly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), have been establishing multi-species swards on each of the six participant farms, exploring the different establishment techniques and determining the opportunities and challenges that arise as a result of incorporating MSS swards within a range of NI farming systems.

 

The event will include several informational stops on farm:

  • Introduction to Multi-Species Swards
  • Farmer experiences of establishing and managing multi-species swards
  • Early results of NI research on multi-species swards
  • Establishment and early management of multi-species swards

 

A newly established “drought resilient” multi-species sward containing cocksfoot, meadow fescue, timothy, red clover, white clover, plantain and chicory.  This was sown with a nurse crop of kale.
A newly established “drought resilient” multi-species sward containing cocksfoot, meadow fescue, timothy, red clover, white clover, plantain and chicory. This was sown with a nurse crop of kale.

 

EIP Operational Group Member, Dale Orr said: 

“There is significant interest in multi-species swards amongst Northern Ireland farmers but there is a lack of practical information about how multi-species swards can be established, managed and utilised successfully. We will be using this event to share our experiences as a group and allow those interested in MSS to come and see an established sward.” 

The MSS for Beef and Sheep EIP Operational Group is supported by technical and administration leads from AFBI, Queen’s University and AgriSearch who along with CAFRE will also be presenting at the Farm Walk.

Tours will operate at regular intervals with the first tour starting at 10.30am and the final tour at 3pm.   To ensure social distancing number are limited and all attendees must pre-book by clicking here.