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Sat, 03 Jun

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Moyvore

Farming For Nature walk with James Ham - June (Co. Westmeath)

Onsite Insights: farm walk & practical actions for nature with Farming for Nature Ambassador James Ham - “Hedgerow management and incorporating trees into farming systems.” The Farming for Nature farm walks are an opportunity for FFN Ambassadors to showcase their contribution to nature.

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Farming For Nature walk with James Ham - June (Co. Westmeath)
Farming For Nature walk with James Ham - June (Co. Westmeath)

Time & Location

03 Jun 2023, 14:00 – 16:00

Moyvore, Moyvore, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

About the event

James Ham farms alongside his wife Martina in Mooyvore Co. Westmeath. Their 52ha farm is 50% under woodland/forestry and the other 50% is mature multispecies pasture including approximately 4ha of spring barley which is used for feed and straw. James has worked hard at greatly reducing the number of chemical inputs on the farm over the years. No insecticides have ever been used on the farm, and over the last 10 years the level of fungicide used on the crop has been reduced to the point that none was applied last year. 

Chemical fertiliser inputs have also been cut back and replaced with farmyard manure. They run a small suckler herd of about 20 Aubrac cows. There is over 4000 metres of hedgerow on the farm, equivalent to approx. 1.5ha of linear woodland, which is left mostly left untrimmed. Regular hedge maintenance is by traditional hedge laying. These thick and mature hedges provide not only a crucial habitat for birds and insects, but also shelter for the livestock. 

The continuous cover forestry system contains a wide range of hardwood and softwood trees. Tree species include hawthorn, blackthorn, spindle, crab apple, oak, elm, holly, sycamore, alder, beech, birch, Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, Larch, Scots Pine and more. 

James maximised the amount of open spaces within the forestry plantations to help create wildflower reservoirs for insects and the wet areas and drains are ideal for dragonflies. “The afforested half of the farm, despite being relatively young, has greatly improved the amount of wildlife on the farm. Pine martin are now present, and the Jays are obviously doing their job, as we see little oak and hazel seedlings all over the site.”

WHAT ARE THE FARM WALKS:
  • This will be a 2.5 hour (approximately) visit to the farm and will include a walk around with the farmer/farm family, a look at some of the habitats and species present, as well as the livestock and/or crops, and a discussion with the farmer about how he/she/they manage the land in support of nature.
  • These walks are for farmers and people with an interest in farming for nature. They are meant to be an interactive knowledge exchange between people with a real interest in farming and nature. They are not suitable for children, or for people/groups looking for an ‘organised walk’ in the countryside.
  • These walks are non-profit but a booking fee is necessary to minimise the frustrating level of no-shows. It costs €10 to register and all funds are circulated back into the farming community.
  • Please wear suitable footwear for uneven and potentially muddy conditions.
  • We would ask that you please respect these farmers, their land and livestock when visiting. Dogs are not welcome. You will be turned away if you arrive with one.
  • The exact location of the farm walk will be sent via email to ticket holders on the week of the walk (keep an eye on your email & your spam folder as sometimes the emails end up in spam).
  • Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the walk commences.

Thank you to the NPWS and the DAFM for supporting these farm walks. For more info on FFN events, resources, programmes - go to www.farmingfornature.ie

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