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Major grower embraces new branchage method

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JERSEY’S largest potato grower has ‘fully embraced’ new methods to carry out the branchage and is calling on other growers to do the same.

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The Jersey Royal Company is among the first to adopt the new method designed to reduce the damage to wildlife which was recently agreed between farmers and environmentalists.

Environmental groups have long claimed that the use of heavy machinery to strip back hedgerows and banques down to ‘ground zero’ twice a year is killing species including bats, hedgehogs and birds.

A new approach was recently agreed by environmentalists and farmers to reduce the amount of foliage cut back to protect wildlife.

William Church, from the Jersey Royal Company, said that the first attempt to use the more environmentally friendly ‘cut and a half’ method went well.

‘Previously, we would have to go over the hedge with the flail four or even five times but this new approach of leaving a bit more length on the banque means the contractors just had to go over it twice,’ said Mr Church.

‘Some die-hard landlords who want their hedges to look tidy might object but we have taken it upon ourselves to explain that this is a more progressive approach which can actually save time and money.

‘Getting everyone on board will be a bit of a slow burn and we want to try to spread the good news that environmentalists and farmers have come together in improving branchage.

‘I really think the new reformed method makes a lot of sense and it’s good to approach branchage with more empathy and consideration.’

The president of the Jersey Farmers Union, Peter Le Maistre, said that environmentalists and the Island’s growers were in agreement on the new methods and was hopeful that the branchage would go well.

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins
Reporter

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