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May 13, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley farms planting wild bird seed plots

2016-05-14, Newport Advertiser 21 April, Monitor farms article, croppedAdrian Joynt, Apley farm manager, updated me on what his farming team is doing for the Environmental Stewardship Scheme. He said “conservation is one of things that farmers do, but never tell anyone they have done it” – so this blog begins to change that:

In the next couple of weeks (or when the rain stops!) we will be planting the “Wild Bird Seed” plots 25 acres around the farms. These are a mixture of plants that have small seeds that are shed over the winter months for feed for the smaller species of farm land birds. The mixes typically contain dwarf sunflowers, buck wheat (white flowers) phacelia (blue flowers), kale, millet (high protein seeds), linseed (blue flowers) and triticale or barley. We also have 4 acres of pollen & nectar mixes planted around the farm, these usually contain red & white clovers & sainfoin – planted to encourage pollinators such as bees. Pollinators are very useful for crops which is why many farmers encourage bee keepers to place hives in the vicinity of oilseed rape crops as it helps to increase the number of pods & seeds per pod”. So it works both ways – when farmers look after nature, nature helps them in return.

On another but separate farming issue, here’s the Newport Advertiser newspaper article (above) on the AHDB programme I blogged about recently. AHDB is the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board & Apley has recently become one of their monitor farms.

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