As part of our continued commitment to long-term sustainable agriculture, we have been committed to preserving and enhancing the environment within which we live and work. In September 2010 we entered the farm into a new Environmental Stewardship Scheme with Natural England. The new scheme will be in place until 2020.
We had previously been in an Entry Level Scheme for five years and a Countryside Stewardship Scheme for ten years. Under the new scheme we have both Entry Level and Higher Level Stewardship options on the arable and grassland. The main options and outcomes on the arable ground are made up of the following:
Enhanced Wild Bird Seed Mix Plots – To provide a sustained source of cover and food during winter and spring months for farmland birds.
Unharvested, fertiliser-free conservation headland – To encourage arable weeds to help insects to flourish and feed young chicks, and provide feed from seed through the winter
Over-winter Stubble – To provide over winter feed from spilt grains and seeds from broad-leaf weeds, as well as providing breeding areas for ground nesting birds in the following spring crops.
Nectar Flower Mixture – To boost the availability of essential food sources for a range of nectar-feeding insects, including butterflies and bumblebees.
2m and 6m Grass Buffer Margins – To provide buffer strips between the crop and hedgerow to encourage and protect insects and song birds
Field Corner Management – To create an area of grassland flowering plants and scrub to encourage insects, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and amphibians.