Farming  with  Wildlife

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Field Margins

I have put a six field margin around some of my arable fields. This is to encourage predatory insects and beetles that will feed on aphids on the corn, this will reduce the need for spraying. Also it will provide a food chain for Barn Owls and other Wildlife. We  have  had  a  Barn  Owl  Box  in  a  oak  tree  on  the  edge  of  the  margins  for  a  number  of  years  no  owls  taking  up   residence.  But  in  2002  we  had  a  pair  move  into  the  box  and  successful  reared  4  owlets.

Dykes

We have a number of dykes on the farm. The self set bushes that grow in the dykes have to be cut back every three to four years, so that the dykes do not get blocked up. This habitat provides cover for butterfly pupa. Also the grass verges in the lanes are left uncut so  to provide a good hunting ground for owls and butterflies.

Trees

I have recently planted seventy five trees on the farm with a good success rate on the heavy land. On the sand land have lost most of my trees due to two droughts even though these were watered during the hot summer.

On the farm there are a number of willow trees which are being pollarded. Little Owls and Tree Sparrows like nesting in these. I have put up a number of small bird nest boxes around the farm.

Hay Meadow

Itís my intention to maintain a hay meadow so that attractive wild flowers will establish and enhance the landscape.

Hedge  Planting

We have done some hedge planting on the farm over the past few years, mainly hedge gapping. Planting a variety of saplings to attract  more  insects  and  butterflies.

The  Lake

We  are  fortunate  to  have  a  3  acre  lake  on  the  farm.  Between  the  middle  of  June  and the  end  of  August.  The  damselflies  take  over  the  banks  where  it  is  a  mass  of  blue.  Damselflies  are  a  good  indicator  to  the  quality  of  the  water.

Conservation  Margins  for  birds in the Winter

We  put  in  three  different  Mixes  1. Wild Songbird  Seed  Mix, 2. Basic Wild Bird Seed Mixture, 3. Poacher  Leave-it. Each  mixture  attracts  different  Birds. The  conservation  mixes  are  put  around  the  edge  of  fields  6 meters  wide.  We  have  been  doing  this  for  six  years  and some birds  have  increased  10  fold. eg:  Yellow  Hammers. When  the  seeds in  the margins have  been  eaten  by  the  end  of  February,  we  have  been  supplied with  two  feeders  from  the  Notts  Wildlife  Trust.  After  February  the  birds  eat  50 kilos  of  seed  a  month, to  start  with  and  as  the  natural  food  becomes  available  they  eat  less