Wednesday, August 02, 2006

IRELAND NEWS: Government Cost-shares Deer Fences for Foresters

THE SCOURGE of deer to farm forestry is to be addressed with the introduction of a new grant to meet 80% of the costs of deer fencing. With an increase in the population of deer over the recent years, farmers have complained that it was growing increasingly difficult to establish broadleaf or diverse conifer species in areas populated by deer.
They also complained that with the explosion in population, deer were spreading into parts of the country they had never been seen in before and were browsing on young broadleaves and some conifer species.

The new grant, which was introduced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Mary Wallace, has been welcomed by Carlow IFA forestry chairman, Dan Galavan.

“This grant will make a huge difference to many farmer foresters,” Mr Galavan said. “The grant will be available to farm-ers who are establishing new plantations and to growers who wish to upgrade fencing on existing forestry.

“The cost of deer fencing at around •10 per metre has been prohibitive for some forest owners prior to the introduction of this assistance.”

Mr Galavan said that it didn’t make sense for farmers, the Government or the EU to invest in forestry and then for deer to make a meal of it. He pointed out that fencing was one of many control measures that can be used to protect forests from deer.

“The relevant authorities must also look at means of controlling the population to sustainable levels if we are to get on top of a situation which already is out of control in many parts of the country,” he added.

Farmers who wish to avail of the grant should contact the Approvals Section (Deer Fencing) of the Forest Service in Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford.

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