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Latest News

August Stewardship & Woodland News

ELS AUGUST6m buffer strips (EE3 and EE9) – if you have included some wild flowers in your buffer strips (EE12) you may now cut the whole 6m strip and remove the cuttings.

Uncropped, cultivated areas for ground-nesting birds (EF13) – from 1st August these can be returned to the normal rotation. If they are sited in an area which could produce a drive or a holding area then you could establish a catch crop asap.

Extended over-winter stubbles (EF22) – from 1st August these can be sprayed off with glyphosate and can return to normal farm management from 15th August.

Winter cover crops (EJ13) - Drill or broadcast a quick growing cover crop mix by 15th September.

Management of rush pastures (EK4) – up to a third of the area of rushes in each field can now be cut.

Legume and herb-rich swards (EK21) – as long as the field has been shut up for at least three weeks, you can now cut or graze these.

CSS OPTIONS AUGUST – Nectar flower mix (AB1) – if not already done so, establish mix by 30th August.

Nesting plots for lapwings and stone curlew (AB5) – from 1st August they can be sprayed off, cultivated and sown with mustard/turnips to provide extra partridge holding cover.

Enhanced overwinter stubble (AB6) – return to normal farm rotation from 1st August.

Flower-rich margins and plots (AB8) – cut (and remove if dense) or graze 90% of the area between 15th August and 31st October to leave a plant height of between 10cm and 20cm - leave 10% of the area uncut or ungrazed. If you are establishing an AB8 mix for the first time we strongly suggest sowing before the middle of September although the rules say before 15th October.

Two-year sown legume fallow (AB15) – establish mix as soon as possible after harvest and before 7th September.

Autumn sown bumblebird mix (AB16) - establish mix as soon as possible after harvest and before 7th September.

Legume and herb-rich swards (GS4) – as long as the sward has been shut up / rested for at least five weeks, you can now cut or graze this.

Winter cover crop (SW6) – establish a quick growing cover crop by 15th September

Cover & Companion Crops

Conditions are ideal for sowing Cover Crops into your stubbles, making great use of the sunshine through August and September to put nutrients and carbon back into thr soil. This maybe something you have chosen for your EFA requirement, but if not there are a wide range of options to suit your individual situation. Please give us a call the discuss the most suitable option.

Game Crops

There is still time to sow Utopia or Rescue Mix to patch up exisiting covers or create new ones in stubble. Don't delay as these really want to go in as soon as possible.

Corn Buntings – if you are lucky enough to have corn buntings on your farm, think about double drilling a strip of cereal through the middle of one of your fields to create attractive and safe nesting habitat for them next summer.

Woodland

Alarming Spread of Oak Processionary Moth -  The recent discovery of  Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) caterpillars on half-standard oaks and standard specimens imported from the Netherlands to Hampshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Birmingham University, Cardiff and Milton Keynes, all of which are well outside of the established infected zone in the UK, has finally prompted official action (after the horse has bolted). Tighter measures on importing Oak Trees into the UK came into force on Monday 15th July in England – See Link Here  

OPM is not particularly damaging to the trees but can be significantly detrimental to human and animal health.

Forest Research’s Mantra is ‘Spot it, avoid it, report it’ - In practice this means that everyone should learn how to:

  • recognise OPM nests and caterpillars;
  • protect themselves and the people and animals in their care from the health hazards - see ‘Health precautions’ in OPM link above; and
  • report a finding – by using Tree Alert..

OPM is becoming an increasing problem across Europe – see Here for BBC coverage.

Woodland Trust PAWS Restoration Plans - Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) cover at least 227,000 hectares in the UK, mainly in England. The Woodland Trust (WT) is increasing its work in restoring these precious woodland assets to resemble their former glory.  This is a long-term process, which can take decades to achieve. The approach comprises the gradual and selective thinning of the existing canopy over several years. Oakbank assist the WT by producing Ancient Woodland Restoration Plans (AWRP) for clients’ on the WT’s behalf, which provide a strategy for future management. Take a look at the objectives and if you would like to discuss potential funding for an AWRP on your PAWS woodland call us now.      The desperate need for more trees in the UK- The committee on climate change says that 30,000 hectares of trees need planting every year if the UK wants to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050, and this increases to 50,000 hectares if other carbon reducing targets are not met.  Independent report . This is the equivalent of 1.5 billion new trees!  A policy report from Friends of the Earth asks if there really is space in the UK to double tree cover.