The SUAS Pilot Project was on full display at the Teagasc Sheep Open Day held at Athenry, Co. Galway over the weekend with Project Manager, Declan Byrne on hand to share advice and insights on various aspects of the project including its training programme and its many initiatives that have been underway across the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands since 2018.
Of particular interest was the vegetation management practices that has been trailed and implemented across a wide variety of upland habitats during this time. Another topic that proved to be popular, is SUAS Project’s emphasis on conservation grazing management practices within the uplands, and how it greatly assists with improving habitat quality and diversity, and ensures the overall biodiversity health of our uplands.
Along with featuring information boards, the stand exhibited some of the more portable tools and equipment related to vegetation management (bracken and heather), controlled burning and other initiatives being delivered by the project across the 25 sites participating in the 5 year project funded by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri) scheme.
The Teagasc Sheep Open Day offered attendees and participants the opportunity to review the latest research and technical advice from the Teagasc Sheep Programme and its practical application at farm level. Under dry conditions, the day was full of technical presentations and interactive workshops dealing with all the main areas important to sheep production including; sustainable systems, livestock breeding, herd health, hill sheep farming and grassland management.
With complimentary access to the event, the technical stands which the SUAS Project formed part of, made for great discussion among the attendees. This was perfectly captured in the group photo below (taken at the SUAS stand), which illustrates a discussion on the future research and advisory needs for upland sheep farmers.The event also provided an opportunity to review wider research programmes and to meet with researchers, students and technical staff, who were present to give more detail on the individual projects ongoing in the Athenry area.
It’s wonderful to see the knowledge and shared learning gained from the SUAS Project contributing to the discussion of sustainable upland farming practices, and how they can complement the biodiversity of one of Ireland’s great natural assets – the uplands.