2019 12 06


The Aukštaitija National Park Directorate has focused its efforts on revitalizing the grazing area in order to preserve economic activities important for protected plants and animals and to prevent grassland overgrowing with scrubs or reeds.

“This is no longer our first initiative. For example, the Big Island of Kretuonas Lake has always been the home of many species of waterfowl. Here, in the old days, grazing livestock kept grazing, preventing the island from bushes and trees. Many of the rare species of birds have left the island after this activity ceased. So it was decided to revive this tradition and entrust the work to the sheep. The results really exceeded expectations, ”says Eglė Semaškaitė, a spokeswoman for Aukštaitija National Park Directorate. According to her, the work done requires continuity. Because of the poor management of this valuable complex, poor shrubs are quickly overshadowed, and thanks to the LIFE Integrated Project “Optimization of Natura 2000 Network Management in Lithuania”, Angus beef cattle have been used to manage the most valuable landscape and natural complexes. graze in Aukštaitija meadows.

They were adopted by Kazimieras Pranskus, a local farmer who had won a selection competition, and who had been waking up to the idea of ​​farm development much earlier. “I have been farming since childhood, but I was interested in raising beef cattle a few years ago during a study trip to Sweden. Already then I began to cherish the dream of supplementing the farm with a herd of Angus. Still, raising enough funds for their acquisition was not enough, and the farm was too small for that, ”says K. Pranskus. He has been successfully breeding Galovei cattle for three years in the village of Reškutėnai, which currently has a herd of 15 cattle, as well as a herd of 100 sheep previously purchased. "I decided to pursue my dream gradually and first to learn how to work with cattle breeders and then look for opportunities to buy Angus cattle as well," adds the stubborn farmer who entrusted 20 breeders and grazing areas on the Pabirze Peninsula ), Kretuonykštė swamp (32 ha) and Ginučiai oak forest (45 ha). In these natural complexes, the Angus will carry out an important conservation mission and assist in the rehabilitation of the currently brownfield sites.

Speaking about the new inhabitants of his farm K. Pranskus is pleased with their successful adaptation. “He already recognizes me as a host, because when he sees me, he folds and circles around - waiting for grain. During the day and the whole bag clumps. I also bring a bale of straw every day. ' According to the farmer, cattle of this breed are not demanding, hardy and easily adapt to various conditions, and in such wet pastures they still feel great, so no serious problems have arisen yet. In addition to complete feed K. Pranskus has already taken care of and lulls. Since the winter, the cattle are protected by a specially equipped shed. The farmer adds that it took a long time and responsibly to raise cattle. "I read all over the Internet, turned over a bunch of books I keep coming back to, and my life experience on the farm helps a lot."

Although the farmer does not calculate his working hours, the plans include modernization of the farm. “It is difficult to deal with an ever growing economy with the help of standard techniques and hands. Right now I do almost all the work myself, with the help of my wife and son, in the summer and the neighbor I hired. The available equipment is not so advanced and powerful, so we are planning to buy a new tractor, a livestock trailer, a bale trailer. We are always trying to strengthen our capabilities, ”says the interviewer. The farmer confesses that he has more ideas for development. He plans to start composting this spring and does not rule out becoming a biodynamic farm owner in the future. Although he does not expect a quick return on his investment, Pranskus still hopes to be able to make some money in the third year of growing Angus. It would also like to supplement its income by opening its own slaughterhouse or shop offering high value-added meat to the market. “I have no shortage of ideas. It is important that you have enough health. Because of this, next year I plan to dedicate only to the farm. At the moment I am also involved in other activities - being a music teacher, rehearsing with the choir, being on weekends and performing, ”says a local farmer who is slowly pursuing his goals.

The farmer and the long-term cooperation agreement with the Directorate of Aukštaitija National Park, to which Mr Pranskus is particularly grateful, do not frighten him. “I received a lot of help from specialists of Aukštaitija National Park. If they hadn't shown initiative, I would hardly have been committed to it. ”According to him, the park's dedication to the future and nature's well-being makes us believe in the success of the project.

The LIFE Integrated Project team also has no doubt that the willingness of local farmers to work together will bring great results and lay the foundations for a long-term and sustainable habitat management mechanism and for the establishment of livestock grazing traditions in the region. "We believe that Lithuanian Red Book plants such as the siberian iris, common gladiolus, cornflowers will once again be abundant in our meadows, and local farmers will appreciate the true value of the protected areas," concludes E. Semaškaitė.

Information from Aukštaitija National Park and Labanoras Regional Park Directorate