We are an arable farm currently growing Winter Wheat, Spring Barley, Oil Seed Rape and Spring Beans. We also grow grass for hay and some grazing paddocks.
We currently farm 360 Ha, some is owned by us and some is share farmed with a partner.
We have adopted a strip till system for crop establishment using a Claydon drill. This involves a light disturbance of the soil post harvest to encourage weeds to germinate so that they can be removed by either mechanical harrowing or using a herbicide. After this we just drill the seeds and roll them in to ensure they have a good contact with moist soil and it also helps reduce the impact of slugs on the emerging plant.
We try to utilise as much technology as we think beneficial to our system. We use GPS to automatically steer the tractors, sprayer and combine which allows the maximum efficiency with no overlapping or areas missed. This also allows us to vary the number of seeds we plant throughout the field, we can vary the amount of fertiliser we put on the plants in different areas of the field. This helps us get the most even crop we can and more importantly helps us get the maximum potential out of the fields.
Some areas that we don't consider to have the potential to grow good crops we have planted the area to meadow grass or we have incorporated them into our Mid Tier Stewardship scheme.
We have been part of an agri-environment scheme since they were introduced in the late 1990's. We are currently in what is called the Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme. We asked the RSPB to help us design a scheme to improve our habitat for farmland birds and pollinators.
We have also volunteered to be in one of their local farm clusters with the aim of improving the breeding success of Turtle Doves. This involves planting areas with specific plants which provide seeds on their arrival from Africa. Providing supplementary food as they arrive is also an important factor. In 2019 we were lucky enough to have seen half a dozen doves on the farm with at least two pairs breeding. Fingers crossed for even more in the future.
These migratory birds were once frequent visitors but have been in decline for decades. To learn more about the project do look on the Operation Turtle Dove website by clicking here.
Some of the work we carryout includes planting a mixture of small seed plants which we do not harvest and leave for birds to feed on during the winter months. You may have seen the sunflowers growing around the farm.
We have also planted areas of nectar rich plants to provide areas for pollinators, particularly bumble bees. These areas together with the grass strips around the fields are designed to provide ground nesting birds with an ideal habitat to nest and then raise their chicks in insect rich grasslands.
For these reasons we do restrict some of the areas that we allow members of the public to access.
If you would like to know where you can walk, on both public footpaths and the permissive footpaths that we are happy for you to enjoy, please look on our Walks page or click here.
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