IFA Countryside were recently invited by ABGN Gun Club as they carried out vital conservation work on the glorious Knockmealdown mountains. Also invited was Senator Garrett Ahearn. AGBN raised concerns with Senator Ahearn about the ability to burn heather.
AGBN demonstrated how they manage the heather for one of our iconic game birds; the Irish Red grouse. In ideal conditions, strips of 10 metres wide and 100 metres long would be burned in a controlled manner before the deadline of 1st March. Burning the heather provides a balance of both young and old heather which is essential for its survival. Grouse feed mainly on heather. The heather needs to be healthy and vibrant. An ideal crop would have several stages of growth in any given area.
ABGN had been using controlled burning of the heather since 2004 but in the last number of years, adverse weather conditions involving heavy rainfall meant that this was not possible. The Gun Club were adamant that this vital conservation work should continue so they found another method of controlling the heather. They purchased a mulching head which is attached onto a hymac thus allowing mowing to take place even in adverse weather.
ABGN Gun Club had previously raised concerns with Senator Ahearn about extending the burning dates to allow them to burn the heather. They invited the Senator out to witness first hand their conservation efforts and the value of heather management.
Many thanks to all members of ABGN Gun Club on their fantastic work in stabilising and indeed increasing grouse numbers on the Knockmealdown mountains. Long may it continue.