22 March 2002

A dragonflys delight

LIKE most fruit farmers Andrew Jackson sees supermarkets as an essential outlet demanding the highest quality. The highest standards are also put into his conservation management; for example he has sown clover to encourage pollinating insects and this also supports a wide variety of wildlife.

Andrew manages his land, near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, to encourage wildlife and is a LEAF demonstration farmer. Spreading the word about conservation and farming comes as second nature to him as does top quality farming – he has over 100ha (247 acres) of top and soft fruit.

"The farm is intersected by three valleys, interconnected by windbreak corridors," says Andrew. "For maximum effect we planted 30ft wide strips with a mixture of flowering trees, shrubs and tussocky grasses."

The integration of technologically advanced farming and wildlife management is no better demonstrated than in his Farm Biodiversity Action Plan, delivered by FWAG.

"Although we selected four targets, dragonflies were especially appealing as we have a series of streams interlinked with 10 ponds. These maintain a healthy population of dragonflies."

Dragonflies rely on water: eggs are laid and attached to water plants, the nymphs live in water and, on emergence, adults feed on insects found on or near water and also along the edges of Andrews windbreaks.

As a strong proponent of farming and wildlife, Andrew is sometimes frustrated that much of the work he has done is not eligible for grant aid. "So much more could be done with a few incentives," concludes Andrew.

More information on

www.fwag.org.uk