A new report published by The Wildlife Trust outlines how a group of over 40 oat growers are combining environmental and profitable farming techniques to help nature recover on their farms.
The Jordans Farming Partnership covers 15,500ha of land over 42 farms and provided almost 4600ha for wildlife in 2018. The scheme has seen rare bird species such as linnets, silver-washed fritillary butterfly and brown hare thrive.
Under the partnership growers are encouraged to sow cover crops as winter feed, protect waterways with extended buffer strips, and leave winter stubble and grass margins untouched.
Suffolk farmer Stephen Honeywood who now sows large areas of the farm with cover crops and lets hedges thicken for nesting spaces has seen the programme benefit his farming practice.
“By creating diverse habitat we see increased pollinators, increased insect life, increased pond life, and increased bird life. Ten years ago, we rarely saw a barn owl - we now have breeding pairs. We’ve been farming here for over 100 years, and effectively I’m passing through for the next generation.”
Ecologists from the Wildlife Trust work with each of the Jordan’s growers to develop a plan to support wildlife on their farms, focussing on key species and habitats specific to the farm’s local landscape.
Stephanie Hilborne, CEO, The Wildlife Trusts says: “We are hugely impressed with the commitment of these cereal farmers to support wildlife and the environment, which will benefit generations to come.”
“Successful farms need thriving wildlife because crops depend on pollination, natural pest control and healthy soils – all these underpin our ability to grow food into the future.”