ABP Food Group turns to wildlife farming with biodiversity area on its two-acre farm at Cahir

ABP Food Group has turned its attention from beef to insects, wildlife, plants and flowers, establishing a two-acre biodiversity corridor area around their site at Cahir, Co Tipperary.
ABP Food Group turns to wildlife farming with biodiversity area on its two-acre farm at Cahir

A company spokesperson said: “Creating the Cahir Corridor was a large commitment, with the development undertaken by a host of local companies.

“ABP has 250,000 square metres of biodiversity initiatives at five Irish sites, including created marshlands at Rathkeale, Co Limerick, to boost the frog population.

“Following the success of Cahir, many of these businesses were also employed for the development of similar biodiversity corridors on several other sites in Ireland and the UK.”

The Cahir corridor was allowed to naturally regenerate with nettles, thistles, docks and rushes. The weeds provide vital nourishment to insects.

For example, four of Ireland’s 32 butterfly species depend on nettles.

ABP also planted more than 2,000 native trees at Cahir.

The company says it has succeeded in encouraging species movement and population growth, by providing connectivity for wildlife to move between isolated ecosystems.

Foxwood Construction Ltd were commissioned to construct four bee hotels, specifically designed to accommodate several of Ireland’s 76 species of solitary bee, of which 30% are threatened with extinction.

Two butterfly hibernation boxes have also been erected in a wildflower garden to keep hibernating species safe from many predators, and from harsh winter weather.

Although industry in Ireland is not required by any licences or environmental/governmental bodies to help biodiversity, ABP says it felt obliged to protect or enhance ecosystems at its sites.

Agriculture relies heavily on local biodiversity for pest control, genetic diversity, nutrient cycling, air and water purification, pollination and food provision.

In recognition of its biodiversity work, ABP Food Group has been chosen by the Guardian as one of five companies putting nature first.

Benefits from biodiversity include the estimated €53m annual contribution to the economy from natural pollinators, solitary bees are far more effective pollinators than the honeybee or bumblebee.

There is also an estimated €22m annual contribution from natural pest controllers, whose habitat has been improved by the Cahir Corridor.

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