There will be times when a stock mix is just not appropriate for a particular job. There may be good reasons for this and Oakbank are very happy to discuss your requirements and get a bespoke mix done for you.
For Stewardship customers we often find that there are some subtle tweaks that can be made to the prescriptions that will make the mix work better and it can often work out cheaper than the original recipe. Some prescriptions seed rates are still based on the desired outcome, rather than the weight of seed that is ideal to produce a well-balanced crop. You need to give room for the elements to grow well or they will not deliver.
We always ask customers a few questions when they discuss mixtures with us:
What problems are they likely to face on their site(s)?
Pests, Weeds, Wet or Dry, Shady or Full Sun, Height of the plot, poor seedbed
What job would they like the mixture to perform?
Driving, Holding, Feeding, a mixture of these.
Is the site subject to any Scheme rules?
ELS, HLS, CSS
How long would you like the crop to last for?
1 year, 2 years, perennial crop
By getting the information to these questions up front Oakbank can soon narrow down the choices to things that will be suitable and work well. This may mean that we will construct a bespoke mix just for you, this is not a problem for us and we are happy to do it.
When looking at mixtures and comparing one with another, please be sure to compare like with like. One area that is often neglected is where seeds may be treated with fungicides and/or insecticides, particularly Kale and Linseed which should always be treated to prevent flea beetle in our opinion (except on organic land). These chemicals can add significantly to the cost per acre, but they are almost always money well spent and much cheaper than sprays or redrilling.
Oakbank work closely with Natural England advisors on mixtures that are suitable for Stewardship use, indeed Ian has run training for NE Advisors on the subject. They have clear guidelines for what they are permitted to use and what they are trying to achieve, but our expertise is often key to extracting the best result from the site.
Please talk to us about your requirements, we are very happy to help!