‘How to get the best from your hedgerows’
by Sean O’Farrell
Hedgerows are the green veins of our countryside, but poor management can leave them all but lifeless. Tipperary’s Sean O’Farrell describes how farmers can ensure their hedgerows pulsate with wildlife, to the benefit of the farm – and the farmer.
About Sean O’Farrell
Sean manages a 60-acre certified organic Cloncannon farm on the western slopes of the Devil’s bit Mountains, near Moneygall in North Tipperary. Sean keeps a 20 cow suckler herd, as well as pigs, poultry and goats. With a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation, Sean is a heritage enthusiast, continuously planting native trees, putting in ponds for wildlife and pollinator strips for his beehives and birdlife. He does this to encourage biodiversity but also for his personal fulfilment and satisfaction ‘for when he has aged 30 or 40 years from now’. He says that this is part of ‘my 5 year plan, my 50 year plan, my 500 year plan’ and feels that farmers should think long-term like the native Americans, ‘seven generations from now’ Sean feels he is on a journey of learning and he is particularly passionate about the importance of soil and making sure it is properly nurtured to ensure good crop health – ‘the microbes and the fungi – so minute yet so powerful, they drive the whole system’. Sean runs numerous education programmes for primary and secondary schools, hosts events for Biodiversity and Heritage Week and opens the farm as an eco-tourist visitor site. More information and a short film on Sean’s farm here. Ambassador since 2018