Ear to the Ground  Ella McSweeney with Co. Clare farmer Kieran Dooley_TX14_Biochar Image Name: Ear to the Ground Ella McSweeney with Co. Clare farmer Kieran Dooley_TX14_Biochar

Life and death It’s the busiest time of year for farmers as calving and lambing hit their peak, which means it’s a busy time for country vets too …. emergency call outs for difficult births, on-the-spot surgeries and the usual round of castrations and neutering are all on the day’s (and night’s) agenda. Helen Carroll joins Monaghan vet Paddy McGinn as he does his rounds on a busy day. Urban Farming It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 30 percent less farmland in the world and 2 billion more mouths to feed. Some are betting that vertical farming can alleviate this problem.

Vertical farming uses technology to grow food indoors in confined spaces. Darragh McCullough visits Farmony, one of Ireland’s first vertical farms where a range of salad crops and micro-veg are being grown in a converted container. Here, racks accommodate a growing surface of 5 acres in the 40-foot fridge unit. Biochar Rushes are the country’s most unwelcomed weeds, causing unproductive farmland and hardship for farmers. Ciaran Dooley has acres of rushes on his land in Co Clare, and he’s just discovered there may be a market for the persistent plants.

Biochar – a charcoal-like substance made from agricultural and forestry waste – could create an unlikely new business venture from the weeds. Ella McSweeney visits Mountshannon to find out more.

Presenters Darragh McCullough, Helen Carroll, Ella McSweeney Producers: Liam Lavelle, Paula Williams Executive Producer Conor Moloney Executive Producer for RTÉ Colm O Callaghan

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