Francis Quigley, Liam and Geraldine Herlihy, Bruree
THE joint winners of the Teagasc Hedge Cutting Competition are Liam Herlihy, Kingsland, Bruree, and Tony Mullins, Ballybeg, Mitchelstown.
Teagasc Hedgerow Week, which finished last Saturday, highlighted all aspects of hedgerow management. Hedge cutting contractor, Liam Herlihy, changed his hedge cutting practice last year. For the sake of the birds and the environment, he changed from cutting the hedges as a flat top to an ‘A roof’, resulting in better and thicker hedges.
“It is actually easier and faster to cut the hedge as a slope because you can run your machine at 45 degree angle on both sides and move on. When you’re cutting hedges flat-topped, you have to cut them and go over them two or three times to get them nice and level," said Liam.
Francis Quigley, Teagasc machinery specialist, said: “Farmers and contractors need to communicate with each other in order to change the perception of what is a well-kept hedge”.
Liam agrees, saying, “As a contractor I hope the farmer and ourselves can communicate better. Most years we come in and there’s nothing said and we cut the hedge as the hedge has always been cut. Going forward, hopefully farmers will make a change and we’ll talk and communicate better. That way we can get stronger hedges, thicker hedges and better for the environment”.
The other joint winner is dairy farmer Tony Mullins, who cuts his own hedges. The Mullins family regard hedges as a great source of shelter for animals, as well as a food source and nesting habitat for birds and small mammals that live in the hedges.
Tony said: “Our hedges are like our shop window so to have our farm aesthetically pleasing is important, and the consumer is looking for biodiversity and sustainability”.