Saturday, 3 January 2015

3rd January: Cattle begin the New Year at home

On December 23rd, the 30 cattle that have been roaming and grazing among the dunes of the NNR were taken back to their home at Brackenside, a farm not too far from Holy Island. The farmer and farmhands, along with the NNR Team, were out early that morning to herd the cattle together toward a holding pen created at Chare Ends.

Some of the cattle waiting to leave - the cattle trailer holds 10 cows so 3 trips have to be made

Waiting patiently at the gate 

The last group - time to leave

Coaxing the cattle into the trailer

Cattle are safely inside

In previous years, the cattle have remained on the Island over the winter and into January or February, weather permitting. This year they did such a great job of grazing the thick dune grasses that they could return home for Christmas. In addition to grazing the rough, long vegetation, the cattle also trampled and damaged some of the Pirri-pirri bur among the dunes:

Photos of damaged Pirri-pirri bur. You can see the exposed root where the cattle have pulled it up out of the ground, this makes the plant more susceptible to frost damage.

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