Farmer Focus: Mid-tier stewardship already delivering

I am in the process of putting my mid-tier countryside stewardship in place.

It’s great to see that before the scheme is delivering on farm I already have an abundance of the targeted species.

Brown hares and skylark can be found in most fields when undertaking field work, and lapwing are once again successfully nesting in two fields that didn’t meet the mid-tier requirements for lapwing plots because of their size or trees being too close.

See also: Video: Garford weeder ends crop failures at organic farm

I have spotted two pairs with three chicks each, so fingers crossed they survive.

I am also putting out supplementary feed, kindly supplied by the RSPB, for any returning turtle doves, although it seems to be feeding the local pigeon population all too well too.

There are definitely corn bunting on the farm, so following some advice I have double drilled a few bits of winter and spring wheat away from headlands, to provide them with what I’m told is favourable habitat created by the thicker planting.

Shooting

Natural England’s handling of the general licences issue has been pretty appalling, but equally so have some of the reactions.

I hope something sensible and workable is sorted soon, as I’ve learnt the hard way this year of the damage crows will do on my lighter land – typically the only field by the road.

Natural England may soon see the damage pigeons and crows do if my AB10 unharvest cereal headlands fail to establish with the current fearless flocks helping themselves to the germinating seed.

Crops are all looking good. The first few days of May have brought some much needed rain to give everything a boost and relieve some stress.

I’m still waiting for blackgrass to show its head above the winter wheat. I am sure some will, but on closer inspection control this year seems to be very good in comparison to two years ago when when the same fields were winter wheat.

With winter barley crops locally starting to come out in ear the countdown for harvest is definitely on, but the list of to-do and want-to-do jobs beforehand doesn’t seems to be getting any smaller. At least the combine is serviced and ready.