Farming firms promise

13 July 2001

Farming firms promise

MILLIONS of £s have been spent on research into creating wildlife habitats on farmland, but little of that knowledge passes to farmers and more financial support is needed to boost the sector, according to biodiversity specialist Marek Nowakowski.

Speaking at last weeks launch of the Farmed Environment Company – formerly the environmental department of input supplier United Agricultural Products – Mr Nowakowski said: "Environmental scheme rules need reviewing if they are to have maximum benefit for wildlife and increase biodiversity. The Countryside Stewardship is a particular case in point."

For example, using herbicides to manage wildlife habitats could be justified in some cases, but decision-makers do not have enough understanding of what is required.

Last year, a special derogation was obtained to trial herbicides in wildlife habitats. The results have been encouraging. "Herbicides can be useful if you are targeting a specific species," says Mr Nowakowski. "They can allow you to twist the balance of plants in favour of the species you are trying to encourage."

The main aim of FEC, based at Malton, North Yorks, is to provide practical conservation advice to far-mers, which can often help lift in-come too, according to the company.

Last year, FEC lifted profit by £2000 on its own 163ha (402acre) all-arable Manor Farm by taking 4% of the cropped area out of production. &#42

See more