Latest News & Events
ELS DECEMBER – hedge and ditch bank cutting continues as does ditch cleaning.
Supplementary feeding for farmland birds (EF23/HF24 & AB12)– a reminder that the feeding period for AB12 starts on 1st December and EF23 on 1st January (HF24 can be either) so make sure you have your food ready to go. Remember you can use your own wheat and oilseed rape but that at least 25% of the overall mix needs to be small seeds such as millets and canary seed. You MUST NOT use tailings/screenings. Please contact the office to discuss different mix options and prices.
Skylark Plots (EF8 & AB4) – make sure they are sprayed out of winter cereal crops by 31st Dec. Each plot must be at least 3m wide and a minimum area of 16m².
Stewardship update – be prepared for some big changes in 2018! NE has announced 4 new Countryside Stewardship offers for the 2018 application window.
These new offers will complement the existing Higher and Mid-Tier offers which will continue to be available.
These four new offers are:
o Online Arable Offer
o Lowland Grazing Offer
o Upland Offer
o Mixed Farming Offer
The Online arable offer will be open from 20th Feb with final date for submission 31st July 2018 (for 1st Jan 2019 start date). The paper forms for Mid-Tier can be requested from 15th January with final date for application form requests on 31st May and closing date for applications 31st July.
Mid-Tier has also been enhanced by the addition of several Higher Tier options.
The hedgerow and boundary grant has also been increased for 2018, from a maximum of £5000 per holding to £10,000. The scoring system has also been simplified and the online application window is 15th January – 30th April 2018.
For more detailed information click here
HS2 Grants – if you have land within 25 miles of the route of the new HS2 train line between Stoke and London you could be entitled to a grant of up to £8,500/ha for either extending ancient woodland or planting large (5ha +) blocks of new woodland. For more information please click here
Oakbank were delighted to be one of the Sponsors for the CLA Redefining Agriculture Conference at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, where the Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP delivered the keynote speech.
And finally (but most importantly) we were delighted to hear that Steve Snape’s partner, Lottie, has given birth to a son, Murphy. Mum and baby are doing well, although it has finally dawned on Steve that four children might be a handful! Congratulations to the Snape family.
The Country Food Trust has been launched to help feed people in need. Last year they fed 20,000 people across the UK and their aim is to feed over 1 million people in the next five years.
As we know, there is a plentiful supply of pheasants and partridges in the UK, with more being shot each year as the sport grows. At the same time, there are 13 million people in UK in poverty who have to decide between the basic necessities including food, clothing and heating, and last year alone over 1 million people visited Food Banks across the country.
The Country Food Trust produces a delicious Country Casserole and a Country Curry which is donated to those in food poverty. It is sealed in long life pouches, which do not need to be stored in a chilled environment and are easy to prepare.
Obviously whilst pheasant and partridge are a cheap source of meat there are significant processing, preparing and packaging costs and this is where shoots can help. The Casserole and Curry are available to buy through the Wild Meat Company Wild Meat Company and for every meal that you buy (to feed your guns/your beaters/to give guns at the end of the day rather than birds in the feather) the CFT will deliver a free meal to a charity that feeds those in food poverty. In Cambridgeshire we are supporting Winter Comfort and have already delivered 200 free meals to them this month. You can also collect money from your guns to make a donation to the CFT. Every £1 collected will feed a person in need.
Supplementary feeding of winter bird food (AB12) is one of the most successful and visibly rewarding options within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. It fills the "hungry gap" when the seed resources in the Wild Bird Seed Mixes run short and ensures the survival of many of our familiar farmland bird species.
Oakbank offer a full mixing and supply service for this seed, so please contact us in good time for the winter feeding period.
Oakbank have been pleased to be involved with The CLA https://www.cla.org.uk/ throughout 2017, attending monthly events culminating in The CLA's 2017 Rural Business Conference https://www.cla.org.uk/conference2017 on the 28th November at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, where we shall be hearing from a variety of key note speakers including:
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Susan Twining - CLA Chief Land Use Policy Adviser
Sir Tim Smit - founder of the Eden Project
Stephen Jones - British Quinoa
Tickets have now sold out to what promises to be a revealing insight into how agriculture in the UK will evolve.
Reflecting on 10 years of grey partridge recovery, Tim Furbank highlights the key requirements of this most iconic of gamebirds, before slipping into a fantasy world of helicopters, Purdeys, Percys and dreamy sport on those estates that have set the bar in conserving Perdix perdix.
As published in Fieldsports Magazine 10th Anniversary Edition - October / November 2016