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Minister visits Hill Farm Centre

September 17, 2020

CAFRE Senior Management were delighted to welcome Dr Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary and Agriculture and Environment Minister Edwin Poots to the Hill Farm Centre at Glenwherry.

The Hill Farm Centre is situated within the Antrim Hills, a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Hen Harrier and Merlin, and the site extends to almost 1,000 hectares. During the visit to the Centre Alan Galbraith , Head of Sustainable Land Management and Martin McKendry, CAFRE Director, gave the visitors a tour of the farm which is home to 100 suckler cows and 1,100 breeding ewes.

The enterprises at the Hill Farm Centre demonstrate to students and farmers effective management practices of upland and hill land with a focus on the integration of livestock and environmental management. Effective grazing management of the land with cattle and sheep, predator control, and habitat management has led to significant increases in the number of hares, farmland birds, in particular  breeding waders and grouse. For the first time in 20 years a pair of Curlew fledged chicks on the Hill Farm Centre in 2017 and this success has been repeated each year since. Improvements in environmental management have been driven by targets set as part of the Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Project which involves CAFRE collaborating with the Irish Grouse Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB),  the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group (NIRSG), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

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