• Agri-Environment, Countryside Stewardship
    Experience and Knowledge, Realistic Achievable Results

  • Game Covers, Correct Choices
    Informed Agronomy, Improved Returns

  • Knowledge, Application
    Passion, Results

  • Ecological Services, Solar Farm Environments
    Bat and Newt Surveys, Pond Restoration

Latest News

September Stewardship & Woodland News

ELS SEPTEMBERHedgerow management (EB1/2/3 and EB8/9/10) - you can now cut your hedges. Remember you can only cut half the length of hedgerows in any one year (or a third under EB3 and EB10).

Ditch management (EB6/7/8/9/10) - from 15th September you can cut vegetation on ditch banks and the bottom of the ditch BUT only half the length of bank or bottom of the ditch can be cut in any one year.

From 15th September you may also clean half your ditches (but no more than once during the 5-years of the agreement). The spoil should not be spread on existing ELS buffer strips/field corners.

Buffer strips and field corner management with wild flowers (EE12) – if you have included some wild flowers in your buffer strips or field corners you should cut the whole area to 10cm high before 30th September and remove the cuttings.

Management of woodland edges (EC4) – you can trim up to a third of the shrubby growth before end of February 2014.

Nectar flower mixes (EF4) – between 15th September and 31st October the whole area of EF4 should be cut to a height of 10cm and cuttings should be removed or shredded.

Over-winter stubbles (EF6 and EF22) – you have until the end of September to lightly cultivate the surface to stimulate weed/volunteer growth.

Winter cover crops (EJ13) – you have until 15th September to establish a winter cover crop.

MID-TIER CS SEPTEMBER

Hedgerow management (BE3) – you can now cut your hedges until 28th February, but only a third of the length in this option. If you have gone for the two-year cutting regime then you cannot cut until 1st January; Nectar flower mix (AB1) – can be grazed from the 1st September and the entire area must be cut between 15th September and 30th March, removing or shredding cuttings; Cultivated areas for arable plants (AB11) – can be cultivated from 1st September; Two-year sown legume fallow (AB15) and Autumn sown bumblebird mix (AB16) – should be sown by 7th September; Woodland edges on arable land (WD3) – can be cut to maintain scrub and grass mosaic and to control injurious weeds (no more than one –third cut in any one year)

 

New recruit joins the Oakbank Woodland team: Will Marshall, a graduate in woodland ecology and conservation from the University of Cumbria, joined the woodland team in September. Will has had a year working as a forester on an estate in Cumbria and now wants to put his degree and practical experience to good use helping advise our clients. We are very fortunate to have such a highly qualified and experienced team to help Will find his feet in the commercial world and are confident he is going to make a great addition to the team. Welcome Will!

On the subject of expansion we are also looking for another graduate to fill a different role (see below).

Job Vacancy:

Oakbank needs YOU. We are looking to recruit a recent graduate in an agricultural related field to join our Stewardship, Game Cover and Conservation Agriculture Sales team at Ellington. The role will be a mix of office and field based work, dealing with existing and new clients, advising on suitable seed mixes for their circumstances and assisting our established consultants with surveying and mapping. A practical understanding of modern agriculture and of the important role that game shooting plays in the management of wildlife habitats is essential. With ‘public goods’ and ‘natural capital’ being the watchwords for future agricultural policy, you will be joining an experienced and dynamic team with many years’ experience, helping British farmers deliver both.  For further information please contact Tim Furbank, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07843 378702

Woodland News

**Really Important - VAT-free trees** Woodland owners, agents, managers and the general public are being urged to sign a petition to remove VAT from the sale of trees, tree guards and other tree planting products. At a time when climate change, the environment and need for major tree planting is at its highest (our Government’s stated aim is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050), it begs the question, why do tree purchases and essential tree planting equipment continue to be taxed? View and sign the petition HERE.

Managing Ash Dieback Ash Dieback is getting progressively worse across the UK and in many areas is now becoming devastating to tree populations. Current advice is for land managers to identify their ash tree population, assess tree condition, monitor for any changes and plan for the expected loss of a large proportion of ash trees. In particular, the operations note recommends a focus on ash trees growing within ‘high risk’ locations, like those adjacent to highways, service network infrastructure, buildings, or in areas or routes frequently used by the public. By preparing now (for example, by obtaining a felling licence) and having a woodland management plan in place to deal with declining ash, land managers and owners will be much better placed to deal with the likely increased risks from and costs of having ash dieback on their ash trees. Managing Ash Dieback - Case Studies 2019 is the latest Royal Forestry Society report, hot off the press, and has been jointly developed with the Forestry Commission. This pragmatic publication – which is available online too – shares the lessons learned by owners and managers from ten woodland case studies adopting different strategies. Which strategy might work best in your neck of the woods? Read the case studies

The Forestry Commission has also published further advice on managing individual trees affected by ash dieback - Operations Note 46a

Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss or need assistance in the management of your ash trees and woodlands.

Bad news for Deer Management in the UK – At a time when the deer population (and browsing pressure on the UK’s woodland)  is at its highest ever level, the Deer Initiative Ltd, the executive arm of the Deer Initiative Partnership (DIP), is to cease operating at the end of the current financial year (31 March 2020), due to lack of Government funding. Browse the press release here.

Your views on aliens and invasive species throughout the UK - A new Defra consultation is seeking your thoughts on the management measures being considered by it and the Welsh Government for 14 alien, invasive and widespread species of concern in England and Wales. Grey squirrels and muntjac deer are 2 examples of such invasive species having significant impacts on our natural ecosystems. Various management strategies are put forward. Send your suggestions to Defra please by 12 September.