The first Northern Ireland Upland SUPER-G farm network co-innovation workshop took place on 7th March 2019 at Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown, Northern Ireland. The workshop was attended by 7 upland farmers
The main objectives of the meeting were to:
- Introduce the SUPER-G project
- Discuss the main local issues for permanent grassland (PG) management
- Discuss the potential to investigate the use of new PG management options or emerging technologies to help deliver Ecosystem Services (ES) in the intensive lowland areas of NI.
The below questions were asked to the group:
- List below what your permanent grassland (PG) should deliver now and in the future?
- Which Ecosystem Service (ES) is the most important for Northern Ireland (NI) farmers now and in the future?
- What are the issues NI farmers face when trying to deliver the ES?
- Referring to the table of ES, how could you deliver these in the future?
- What management options or innovations would help farmers deliver the ES?
- For the management options or innovations that you gave in question 5, which ones are the most important or would be most beneficial to your farm business?
Farmers answers are presented below:
- Feed for livestock which in turn produced beef, lamb or wool; carbon sequestration through the natural heather growth
- Producing grass for livestock followed by biodiversity and pollination; carbon storage and GHG; water quality
- Current policies, research and education focus on production rather than profitability or the environment
- Change their livestock type to more traditional breeds; use fewer chemical sprays for weed control; use innovative weed control techniques wiping;
- Virtual fencing could be used as boundary fencing, for monitoring the health of animals or tracking the location of the animals when on vast upland areas. A barking drone could be used to improve the health and safety for the farmer; the drone will allow the farmer to locate and check the animals rather than going on the rough terrain to check the livestock.
- Virtual fencing