Wildlife Friendly Farming in Northern Ireland – with Roy Lyttle

In Northern Ireland, according to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), around ¾ of the countryside is farmed. Unfortunately with the advent of modern monoculture farming practices – there has been a marked decline in wildlife. Natural diverse habitat loss, synthetic fertilizers, chemical sprays are all taking their toll.

Roy Lyttle along with his wife Sheila and their son Alexander are Northern Ireland’s biggest growers of leeks. They also produce scallions or spring onions and some other vegetables, and although a small amount of their land is certified organic, the majority of it is not. Roy and his family are on a mission to incorporate wildlife friendly practices into their conventional farming practices. They are doing such a good job that Roy received Northern Ireland’s Most Wildlife Friendly Farmer award for 2016 that is sponsored by the RSPB.

Conventional farms and farmers like Roy are really important because they offer a new model of the kinds of wildlife friendly actions that can be taken by conventional farmers producing large monocultural yields for supermarkets.

On this show recorded on the 29th of December 2016 I talked to farmer Roy Lyttle about his passion for nature, and what his family are doing as Northern Ireland’s biggest producer of leeks to help wildlife return to their patch of the countryside.

To listen to this programme about Northern Ireland’s Most Wildlife Friendly Farmer please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=1c9aeaf2-7e69-4dc2-b307-a8e85ca2c354

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 12th January 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Roy Lyttle, Wildlife Friendly Farmer of the Year (2016) for Northern Ireland, with his son Alexander (left) and wife Sheila.

Roy Lyttle, RSPB’s Wildlife Friendly Farmer of the Year (2016) for Northern Ireland, with his son Alexander (left) and wife Sheila.

Wide grassed borders to fields allow insects to survive as well as providing a border for vehicles that helps to keep the roads clean.

Wide grassed borders to fields allow insects and birds to live alongside conventionally farmed land. The border is also for vehicles and helps to keep the roads clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roy by his filed that he has set aside for wild native birds such as declining linnets and skylarks. A mixture of grasses has been grown with linseed predominating.

Roy by his field that he has set aside for wild native birds such as declining linnets and skylarks. A mixture of grasses has been grown with linseed predominating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hedges bordering Roy's fiendly are allowed to grow for 4-5 years before cutting back. This helps provide habitat for breeding birds.

Hedges bordering Roy’s fields are allowed to grow for 4-5 years before cutting back. This helps provide habitat for breeding birds.

 

Linnets on the Ard's Peninsula, Northern Ireland

Linnets on the Ard’s Peninsula, Northern Ireland

 

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