Oakbank News

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April E-News

ELS APRIL Buffer 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.


Hedgerow and Boundary Grant Application Deadline – 30th April 2018

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.

EFA FALLOW LANDthe RPA has finally 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.

MISCANTHUS If you want to order any rhizomes please let us know asap.

Wireworm – if you intend sowing maize following long-term grass leys beware of wireworm as it can devastate crops. There is a seed treatment called Sonido which protects the maize plant against wireworm attack BUT it cannot be applied with Mesurol so you won’t have the bird repellent properties that Mesurol gives. You can scare off birds with our Terror Kites but you can’t scare wireworm so don’t take the risk! We only have a limited stock of Sonido treated maize available so if you know you are planting maize after long-term grass please call the office asap.


Just to reiterate that seed mixes do separate in the drill so please be careful to thoroughly mix the seeds before drilling each plot.

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.

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.