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April Stewardship & Woodland

ELS APRILBuffer strips and Field Corners (EC24, EE1-3, EE9, EF1, EJ5 and EJ9) to which wild flowers have been added (EE12) can still be cut this month if excess vegetation threatens to suppress the flowers, providing no birds are nesting in the flower-rich area.

Cereal headlands for birds (EF9) and Unharvested cereal headlands (EF10) – no more broadleaf weed control allowed.

Supplementary feeding for farmland birds (EF23) – winter feeding period now finished. Given the cold weather you may want to keep feeding, particularly to help turtle doves which will shortly be arriving after a long journey from Africa.

Undersown spring cereals (EG1) – the cereal crop must be established by 20th April.

Low input (EK2) and very low input grassland (EK3) – DO NOT cut, harrow or roll until 31st May (EK2) OR 30th June (EK3)

Mid-Tier CS APRILNectar Flower Mix (AB1) – 50% of each plot should be cut between 15th April and 31st May.

Nesting plots for lapwing & stone curlew (AB5) – if natural regen covers more than 70% of the plot by the end of April you are allowed to spray off to restore bare ground.

Unharvested cereal headland (AB10) and Harvested low input cereal (AB14) – needs to be established by the end of April (you can use any cereal except maize so millet, barley, triticale are all acceptable for these options).

Cultivated plots for arable plants (AB11) – spring plots must be cultivated by the end of April. Supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds (AB12) – must continue feeding until 30th April.

CS CLAIMS – please read the instructions in the link below as to how you should submit your CS claim. If you don’t submit the evidence with the claim it will hold up your payment. With the RPA now in charge of CS there is a culture of zero tolerance. We strongly recommend that you complete your claim form early and submit the evidence requested on the system. How to submit claims online

Revenue claims can be submitted now, so don’t leave it until the 15th May especially if you require help! Capital claims can be submitted at any time of year providing the claim exceeds £500 (unless it is the final capital claim).

Hedgerow and Boundary Grant Application Deadline –  3rd May

It is not too late to order Miscanthus Rhizomes for your game cover areas if you are looking to plant this spring. Planting should be carried out in April or early May so there is now some urgency.

If you would like more information or to place an order for rhizomes, please call the office on 01480 890686

Fertiliser – please remember to put all of your phosphate and potash and at least 50% of your Nitrogen in the seedbed before drilling. The remainder of the Nitrogen to be applied early post-emergence.

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.

Woodland Countryside Stewardship explained - The Forestry Commission has produced a Countryside Stewardship Woodland Grant webinar which gives a high overview of improvements and timelines new for 2019 – click link here to view:   FC CS Overview for 2019

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.  

The wood fuel debate  The most recent debates about the use, alleged detrimental effects and even the banning of wood fuel smoulders on. Wood as fuel appears to be having a rough ride at the moment. There didn’t use to be any arguments – wood is a green, sustainable product isn’t? But the discussions around carbon and particulate pollution suddenly make this debate much more complicated for Joe public and are in danger of possibly turning users off wood for fuel long term. However a recent article in the Ecologist reiterates what we knew / know about the virtues of wood for fuel and that managing and choosing wood in the right way might help to reclaim for good the case for burning wood -  Ecologist Article. See too a useful and informative article in the Telegraph titled ‘Wood-burning stoves: What do the new rules mean for your heater? The Woodland Trust have also been involved in the debate recently stating that ‘With the price of fossil fuels constantly rising, wood fuel systems provide a modern, reliable heating system alternative to their gas and oil counterparts. The systems are carbon-neutral and help stimulate local economies’.

CLAY SHOOT – SIX MILE BOTTOM. On Saturday 11th 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.