January Stewardship & Woodland Diary
Happy New Year!
ELS JANUARY – hedge and ditch bank cutting continues as does ditch cleaning. EF23 (supplementary feeding in winter for farmland birds) – food must be spread on the ground at designated sites at least once a week from 1st January. This is in addition to any hopper feeding. Don’t forget to keep your ‘feeding diary’ up-to-date in case of inspection.
Winter Feeding – even if you don’t have EF23/HF24 or AB12 options under your ELS/HLS or Mid/Higher tier stewardship agreements, we would urge everyone to undertake some winter feeding for our declining farmland bird species. Whilst feeding wheat is better than nothing, some smaller seeds such as rape, sunflower hearts and millet would be far more beneficial for many of our passerines.
GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count: 8th-17th February
Please get counting! The GWCT needs as much data as possible from around the country to properly analyse farmland bird population trends.
Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship – AB1 (nectar flower mix) – if you haven’t done so already you have until 30th March to cut your nectar flower plots. Lots of customers don’t have the facility to cut and remove. If that is you then the best advice is to wait until a dry, frosty day and cut very steadily with a flail mower (not a rotary) as this will smash the woody material and is less likely to leave a carpet of mulch. BE3 (management of hedgerows) – if you have gone for the one in two rather than one in three year cutting option then you can now cut half of your hedgerows up until 28th February.
Expected dates for 2020 applications as follows: forms can be requested from 18th February. For Mid-Tier the last date to request application packs likely to be 31st May with the application window closing on 31st July. For Higher –Tier the application window likely to close on 3rd May. If you are interested in applying this year, please get in touch with us as soon as possible on 01480 890686
Hedgerows & Boundaries Grants – on-line application window from 18th February – 3rd May.
Good news for Ash?
Recent evidence says there is hope that some native ash stands in the UK will be able to survive the devastating Chalara ash dieback disease, although surveys around Europe reveal mortality rates from ash dieback as high as 70 per cent in woodlands and 85 per cent in plantations. Despite previous predictions, which suggested that as much as 99% of our ash could be wiped out, these dire predictions may be wrong if tolerance in those trees surviving is found to be a genetic trait. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46440389
Grey Squirrels - At last an effective solution? The long awaited, self-resetting ‘Goodnature A18 Squirrel Trap’ has been approved under the Spring Trap Approval Order, which came into force on 1 January 2019. The approval will only be for use in England in the first instance; Scotland, Wales and Northern Island will have to wait for approval in the future.
Eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) has been discovered in Kent – Ips is a significant new arrival to the UK and has potentially devastating consequences to our spruce crops. The beetles have been discovered in a woodland setting, the government contingency plan has been initiated and the Forestry Commission has been designated the competent body for the outbreak. Movement restrictions have been served on-site to minimise the risk of onward spread, while further investigations and surveillance of the area is conducted. Adult beetles will be dormant and hibernating at this time of year. The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle does not affect human health but can be a serious and destructive pest of the spruce tree species across Europe, although it generally prefers weakened or damaged trees. It has never been discovered in the wider environment in the UK before. Find out more in the link below and please remain vigilant and report any suspected sightings or ask us for further assistance. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/forestry-commission-act-on-tree-pest-detected-in-kent
We will be sending out our spring newsletter and product guide in February. If any of your address details have changed since last year, please contact the office to ensure your details are updated.