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February Stewardship Diary & News

ELS – February is the last month for hedge and ditch bank cutting. It is also the last month, in which you are entitled to cut Field corners (EF1), remembering you can only cut once in the five-year agreement period UNLESS you have added wild flowers to the field corner (EE12), in which case you can cut in March/April and again in August/September; Wild bird seed mixes (EF2) must NOT be cut down until 1st March; Overwintered stubbles (EF6) can be returned to the farm rotation from 15th February; Unfertilised cereal headlands (EF9) – broad leaf weed control can be carried out between Feb 1st and 31st March but ONLY with amidosulfuron. Grass weeds can be controlled anytime using only the products list in the handbook; Unharvested cereal headlands (EF10) – broad leaf weed control as per EF9 and the headland must be left uncut until 1st March; Uncropped, cultivated areas for ground-nesting birds (EF13) – rough cultivated area should be created between 1st Feb and 20th March.

MID-TIER CS AB1 Nectar flower mix (AB1) – if you haven’t done so already you have until 30th March to cut your nectar flower plots; Basic overwintered stubbles (AB2) can be returned to the farm rotation from 15th February; Nesting plots for lapwing and stone curlew (AB5) - rough cultivated area must be created by 20th March; Whole crop cereals (AB7) – must retain stubble until 15th Feb. New crop to be established between Feb and April; Unharvested cereal headlands (AB10) – last year’s crop can be destroyed from Feb 1st and new plots established between Feb and April; Cultivated areas for arable plants (AB11) – cultivate between Feb and April (or Sept – Nov).

Supplementary Feeding (EF23/HF24 & AB12) – continues through February.

CSS Mid and Higher-Tier and hedgerow/boundary grant application windows all open 18th February.

Closing dates as follows:  Hedgerow/Boundary grants – 3rd May

                                            CSS Higher Tier – 3rd May

                                            CSS Mid Tier – 31st July - apply for your application pack by 31st May 

Woodland Creation Grants open now with rolling application window.

Game crops in February – bearing in mind February is one of the toughest months for farmland birds please don’t flail off all of your game crops as even a narrow strip will provide some foraging area. Also do not try and work the ground until it has dried out considerably or you will destroy the soil structure.

Hedging and trees – Unless it remains cold, February is usually the last month in which we are lifting hedging and trees and is therefore the last opportunity for you to get planting. Please contact us for a quote.

Managing Floristic Margins

Whether in an agreement or not the cutting of floristic plots and margins can be done in February. If you weren’t able to cut and remove the cuttings in the autumn, Feb and March are good months to flail as the stems of the plants are woody and shatter rather than forming a green mulch. Ensure soil conditions allow you to travel without cutting up the ground (heavy frost or a week of dry weather) and use a flail rather than rotary mower.

Big Farmland Bird Count – a reminder that the BFBC is 8-17th Feb https://www.bfbc.org.uk/  

National Nestbox Week is also approaching (14-21 Feb) https://www.nestboxweek.com/


Woodland Wildlife – if you are interested in a bit of on-line surfing to find out more about your woodland then a new site was recently launched which you might find of use Woodland Wildlife Toolkit

2019 Magazine and Product Guide – we will be sending out our 2019 later this month. If you have changed your mailing address or would like a copy for someone else, please let us know asap.