Oakbank News

Latest News & Events

May E-News


ELS Extended over-winter stubbles (EF22) – Undesirable weed species such as blackgrass, sterile brome and wild oats can be controlled by spraying the affected areas from 15th May.

MID-TIER CSNectar Flower Mix (AB1) – rotationally cut 50% of each plot before 31st May, taking care to avoid ground nesting birds; Enhanced overwinter stubble (AB6) – you can spray problem grass weeds from May 15th BUT please remember this option should not be located on fields where you know you have bad blackgrass issues.

Woodland Trust MOREWoods Grant - this grant application is open all year round. Minimum application of 0.5ha and 500 trees. Trust will advise on best species for your land and the grant pays 60% of the costs if you plant yourself or 50% if a contractor is employed.

Game crops in May – what a difference a year makes! Last year we had 8mm of rain in April and the priority was conserving moisture in seedbeds! Soil temperatures hit 12°C and we were all praying for rain! This year 90mm of rain and a soil temp of 8°C. It is not going to be easy getting a seedbed this year but please be patient as the soil temperatures are a long way behind last year. Please remember to get the majority of the crop’s fertilizer requirement in the seedbed before drilling. Game crops have a short growing season and need easily available nutrients to help them grow.

Row widths – we make no apology for reiterating the need to ensure crops are drilled on wide enough rows. We do issue game crop agronomy sheets detailing recommended seed rates and row widths so please read them! Far too many crops are drilled on too narrow rows making the crop unattractive to game birds, which prefer room to move about whilst protected by the height and canopy afforded by the crop.  

BIONATURE FERTILISER – for those of you with soils prone to leaching or who struggle to buy the right compound fertilizer for your game crops don’t forget NHK Delta, 1-4-ALL & Tip Top liquid fertilizer. We had great results with it last year. It is easy to apply and produced fantastic results on plots which have historically been very challenging. For more information, please contact Tim at the Oakbank office on 01480 890686.

– A reminder that the RPA has cleared up the confusion around growing wild bird seed mixes and nectar flower mixes on fallow land. You cannot apply any crop protection products during the fallow period (1st Jan to 30th June) BUT you are allowed to cultivate to control weeds prior to drilling any wild bird mix or nectar mix. From 1st July you are able to apply fertilizer and herbicides. If you want to grow wild bird seed mixes on fallow land for EFA, we suggest delaying drilling until mid-June to ensure you have the cleanest seedbed possible and to ensure the crop and any weeds are still small in July to get the maximum benefit from a herbicide and fertilizer.

CLAY SHOOT @ SIX MILE BOTTOM.  On Saturday 12th May the Cambridgeshire branch of the GWCT is holding a simulated game clay shoot at Six Mile Bottom. The day, to be shot in teams of 4, comprises 6 ‘drives’ - 5 x 80 bird flushes and 1 x 100 bird flush. The layout at Six Mile Bottom is outstanding, including beautifully designed grouse butts for the driven grouse, a high pheasant drive to test the best, classic Suffolk partridges over a tree belt, a decoyed pigeon layout, springing teal and walked up grouse. A delicious lunch and prize giving in the marquee follows the shooting. It really is a terrific day and proceeds go to the invaluable research work of the Trust. For an entry form please contact Tim Furbank on 07843 378702 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Open days in May/June – Tuesday 22nd May – Cover Cropping and Direct Drilling Roadshow at College Farm, Somersham.  For more information please contact Ian Gould This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shows in May/June – Oakbank will have a stand at the following events: Saturday 19th May - Bedfordshire YFC Rally at Scald End Farm, Thurleigh; Sunday 3rd June – Cambridgeshire Show at Wimpole Hall; 27th & 28th
June – Groundswell 2018 at Lannock Manor Farm, Weston, Hitchin. We look forward to catching up with some of you at one or more of these events.

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Oakbank are pleased to support The Country Food Trust


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. 





Using Miscanthus as a game cover

Lots of calls this month about using Miscanthus as a Game Crop - find out more here!

Read more ...

Supplementary Feeding

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.

Supplementary Feed 2017 from Oakbank Game and Conservation on Vimeo.