Know How / Wildlife

News for farmers on how wildlife can have an impact on farms, both positively and negatively. See how to improve biodiversity on your farm to encourage pollinators and farmland birds. Find out about the developments in the rewilding debate and on releasing animals, such as lynx into the countryside.

Advice and tips


How Britain's bee farmers can help raise crop yields

Britain’s bee farmers could have a key role in helping growers increase arable and fruit crop yields, by providing a targeted pollination service. There are about 400 professional bee farmers in…


How encouraging bees can lift arable crop yields by a third

Planting and managing flower-rich mixes to support wild pollinators can bring an economic benefit to arable businesses by raising crop performance. Research conducted over six years by the Centre for…


How arable incomes could benefit from mid-tier scheme

Farmers who were put off from applying for mid-tier last year should reconsider now that the application process has been simplified, but they should only choose options that fit the…

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Case studies


Asda helps spud growers to go green

The headlands of potato fields can have a valuable role in promoting wildlife, and one major supermarket group is helping its spud growers to establish green covers on these areas.…


Wild bird project – a blueprint for future farm support?

Farmers in the South West have helped to save a rare farmland bird in a 25-year collaboration with the RSPB.  Farmers and the RSPB don’t always see eye to eye,…


Birds boosted by wildflowers in the crop margin

Andrew Pitts has seen a massive rise in bird numbers to levels not recorded since the 1970s after embracing a biodiversity approach on his Northamptonshire farm. Song bird numbers have…

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Quiz: Can you spot 6 common farmland birds?

This Saturday sees the start of the Big Farmland Bird Count (6-14 February) and farmers are being encouraged to go out and tally up the species on their farms. The…

Big farmland bird count: how you can make a difference

Farming has changed the landscape of the UK and the way wildlife interacts with it massively since the Second World War. Before the 1940s weeds largely grew uninhibited from hedgerows…

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How growers can help protect pollinators with web tool

A smartphone and computer tool that allows farmers to notify beekeepers without needing their contact details is offering a simple way so send out alerts ahead of insecticide applications. The…


How the 'Farmer Clusters' conservation system works

The Farmer Clusters concept, developed by the Game Wildlife and Conservation Trust (GWCT) and supported by Natural England, empowers farmers to decide how they think land should best be farmed…


How modern farming is being blamed for wildlife loss

“The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before.” So says renowned naturalist David Attenborough, introducing the latest State of Nature report from a…


Rewilding debate: 6 farming myths unpicked

Rewilding is in the news again and guaranteed to raise passions on both sides of the debate. At the BBC Countryfile Live event on 4 August. George Monbiot forcefully laid…

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NSA celebrates Defra rejection of lynx release application

Defra secretary Michael Gove has rejected Lynx UK Trust’s application to release lynx into a forest in Northumberland because it did not meet the necessary standards. In a letter to…


Farmers must weigh up rewilding risk and reward

Farmers and landowners will need convincing that rewilding – bringing back iconic species such as wild lynx and boar into the countryside – is the right decision for their businesses…


Scotland is 'best UK location for lynx reintroduction'

Scotland could be the best UK location to support the reintroduction of wild lynx in the countryside, but the animals would likely target farmers’ sheep, says a leading ecologist. Speaking…


Gove announces £60,000 project to protect bees

Defra secretary Michael Gove has announced a £60,000 fund to identify where new habitats will provide the greatest benefit for bees and other pollinators. The project aims to help increase…

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Row erupts over calls for raven cull to protect sheep

An online petition launched by farmers calling for greater control of ravens on farmland to protect newborn lambs and calves is gaining momentum. Britain’s largest species of crow has been…

Video: Birds found nesting in tractor engine

Grass-cutting at a nature reserve has been put on hold after birds were found nesting in the engine of a tractor. A pair of pied wagtails and their four chicks…


VIDEO: Modulate to the max, says RSPB

The RSPB has called on the government to transfer the maximum amount of money from direct farm support into agri-environment schemes. RSPB conservation director Martin Harper made the call after…


VIDEO: RSPB may have CAP reform answers, says David Heath

Methods used by the RSPB to boost farmland wildlife could be encouraged on more farms across England following CAP reform, suggests farm minister David Heath. Following a CAP deal struck…

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