“I’m delighted to chosen as a Farming for Nature Ambassador. I hope to be able to showcase our regenerative farming system and how we can combine soil, habitat and environmental best practice and still deliver safe, high quality and high yielding crops while maintaining acceptable farm profits” Louis McAuley, Farming For Nature Ambassador.
The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Meath farmer Louis McAuley to their growing Ambassador network. Louis McAuley and his family manage a 1700-acre farm in county Meath. Approximately 1400 acres of the land is used for cereal production such as winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape, beans and oats. All of the cereal grown on the farm goes to their feed mill where they produce animal feed for cattle, sheep and horses.
Up until 6 years ago Louis’s farm would have been a conventional plough-based tillage system. At that point, they noticed a decline in soil health and crop yields – “The soil is one of our main assets on the farm. We wanted to introduce a system where we were improving our soil year on year, all the while producing crops.” In 2015 a low disturbance direct drilling system was implemented on the farm, meaning the seeds are sown direct into mulch/stubble and there is no ploughing or major soil disturbance which protects the soil biology and structure. They have also included a 6/7-year crop rotation system, as well as utilizing multi-species cover crops on the land to further regenerate the soil. The cover crops that are in the ground during the summer months produce a variety of flowers which attracts insects to the land. The remaining 300 acres of the farm is grassland, and the family run a dairy calf to beef system of around 200 animals. Louis is a founding member of BASE Ireland and he is passionate about educating and encouraging farmers to adopt less-intensive tillage systems.
Now in its fourth year, Farming For Nature was set up with an aim to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature, while providing a livelihood for their family. This years FFN Ambassadors come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows. The FFN ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
FFN is featuring their Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis until August 2022. Keep an eye on FFN’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms to learn more about these wonderful farmers and the valuable work they are doing for nature on their land. FFN will work with these inspiring ambassadors to produce farm videos, podcasts, ‘Ask the Farmer’ sessions, farm walks and more. Go to www.farmingfornature.ie to learn about this incredible network of Ambassador farmers and to access further information, resources and tips.
The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.
For more information on Louis’s farm go here.