The ‘Ask the Farmer’ series runs this Winter and Spring where a number of our amazing Ambassadors will be on-line to tell us a little more about their farm and farming system and to answer your questions about farming for nature. These are free, you just have to register beforehand. Next up
- 30th November 2021 8pm Grazing high nature value uplands sustainably with Galway farmer Nia O’Malley.
More information on Nia’s Farm here.
Nia O Malley farms 60 hectares in the Slieve Aughty Mountains in Co. Galway. She took over the family farm in 2010. Since then, she has worked incredibly hard to rebuild and regenerate the farm and has done so with respect and consideration for the natural landscape and wildlife of the area. “Something you learn as a hill farmer is you have to adapt to the area – you can’t just come in and change things as you wish… You have to adapt to the land and work with the land, rather than forcing the land to adapt to your farming practices.” Farming in a hen harrier Special Protected Area, Nia joined the Hen Harrier programme in 2018 where she was involved in a mountain grazing project. The trial focused on increasing cattle grazing on areas of bog/heath that are dominated by Molinia grasses and pose serious fire risks. “My involvement with the hen harrier project enabled me to look at my land differently and value what I might not have valued before… The more you graze commonage, the more you will reduce the Molina grass growth and the more you will encourage other grass species to come up. This will eventually extend the grazing season on the mountain.” Interested in silvopasture and agroforestry, Nia has planted hedgerows and areas of native woodland around the farm.