2021 has been a slightly more normal year after the very challenging autumns of 2019 and 2020. The farmland is all planted up with winter cereals (wheat and barley), linseed oilseed rape, beans and cover crops to prepare the land for planting spring crops next February and March. These crops will help feed the sheep and the soil over the winter period, increasing soil fertility and help eliminate soil erosion, whilst providing valuable habitat for our farmland birds. We welcomed Kyle to the farm team this autumn who is here for 12 months as part of his Hartpury College course and is gradually finding his way around the farm. It’s also great to welcome Sam and Shirley to the team who are our new shepherds, do wave and say hello when you see them around. We have had some Dorset Lambs born so they will be ready for Easter.
This year we have hosted 4 visits from the Gloucester Vale Volunteers http://www.gvcv.org.uk/ to help with some habitat management. They have assisted in collection old plastic tree guards, pruned some willow trees, scrub bashed around an irrigation reservoir and cleared ground ready for a new hedge to be planted in the new Year. They are always on the look out for keen new helpers so do reach out and get connected.
It has been quite a year for the whole farm team winning two major awards in the Agricultural Industry, we scooped the Farmers Weekly ‘Environmental Champion’ Award and also the British Farming Awards - Farmers Guardian ‘Arable Innovator of the Year’ award, a testament to the dedication and hard work that everyone has put in over the last six years in moving the farm to a more sustainable ‘Regenerative’ type farming system. As we go forward we are looking even further into soil health and carbon sequestration, alongside this we have an exciting new initiative to use the orchards to produce our own apple juice. Follow Jake on his social media; - Instagram, Twitter & Youtube.
Shoot and Conservation
Having had the end of the 20-21 season cancelled due to restrictions we carried on as best we could with other jobs have had quite a number of successes. Following a really helpful blog earlier in the year our Head Keeper, Paul has had a number of opportunities to engage with people whilst they are out walking in the area and explain the pivotal role of conservation in our work. What has also been fantastic to see is the Lapwing brood that successfully fledged in the late spring which is such a wonderful reward for all the hard work carried out by the team.