Catchment News

Farming for Nature farm walks: McCall’s Farm, Calverstown, County Kildare

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On a beautiful June afternoon in 2019, Kim McCall led 50 people around his family’s 214-acre farm situated near the small village of Calverstown in South Kildare. The day was organised through the Farming for Nature initiative. Kim explained how they farm the land to promote biological activity in their soils and interaction between plants, soils and animals.

The tour included an overview of old permanent pasture and the use of a variety of grasses and wild flowers including clovers, plantain, dandelions, daisies and yarrow amongst others. He explained that you need to understand the land to manage it properly for nature. For example, in the wet grasslands his Aubrac pedigree cattle and Rouge de l’Ouest ewes graze between September to the end of April but are excluded in the summer time. This allows the flowering habitat to re-seed naturally and flourish. As he says the grazing cow is the management tool for promoting the natural habitat.

Walking through woodlands on McCall’s farm.

To promote soil fertility, they use biochar to spread on the soil which prevents the leeching of nutrients. They make biochar on the farm by burning scrap wood from trees in a flame cap kiln.

Forestry covers 30 acres of the farm with a mixture of softwood and hardwood tress including sitka spruce, birch, chestnut, alder, oak and beech. Even in the vegetable garden some of the vegetables are left to produce flowers for pollinators and other insects. Pollinators are well catered for on this farm!

The day was finished off with tea and cake and was a wonderful opportunity to sit in their lovely garden and watch the bees hard at work. It was a great demonstration of how a farm can be productive and provide a sustainable income for a family while giving back to nature. Fuel for thought and action!

Marie Archbold, EPA Catchment Science and Management Unit

Learn more:

www.farmingfornature.ie/nominees/kim-and-mirielle-mccall/

The bee hotel on the castle.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our waterbodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office.

LAWCO

Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,829 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures for each.

DECLG

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures that will be implemented after public consultation and sign off by the Minister.