A new tractor mounted ‘bracken bruiser’ unit is being used as part of the SUAS Project to manage vegetation and for training operations.
The latest piece of equipment is being used to trample bracken along the Great Sugar Loaf and Glencap commons areas.
The mounted unit joins two quad mounted units which are already available to hill-farmers participating in the SUAS Project at the 25 sites involved in the scheme.
SUAS had been supporting participants with the use of a 4ft bracken bruiser towed behind a quad for the past three years, This proved so successful a second machine was made available this year. Following feedback from the hill farmers in the SUAS project, a tractor mounted version was sourced from the UK and is now in operation for the summer season ahead.
While bracken is a natural plant in upland landscapes, it’s invasive nature means it spreads wildly and rapidly.
There are a number of control options, including mechanical treatment known as ‘bruising’. This involves using a special type of roller, to crush the bracken plants in a number of places. This causes the plant to use up its energy stores in its vast root system to heal the damage, weakening itself over time. The bruising needs to be carried out at least twice per year in the first few years and then an annual run in August will keep the bracken under control. While full eradication may not be achieved, this method can maintain low levels of bracken on a long-term basis and in a sustainable manner.
While full eradication may not be achieved, this method can maintain low levels of bracken on a long-term basis and in a sustainable manner. This machine also breaks up the litter layer underneath the bracken, allowing light in to stimulate new growth beneath the bracken plants.