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Farming
Welcome to this group for all farmers and anyone with an interest in farming. Read our blog to see how we're working with farmers and to find out where you can meet us at events.
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  • Blog Post: What birds are wintering on your farm?

    Winter is a tough time for wildlife, but especially so for those species which call farmland home. Many farmland bird species such as grey partridge, yellowhammer and corn bunting depend on seeds to survive. Other species such as thrushes and bullfinches depend on berries, fruit and grubs found along...
  • Blog Post: Hope for the future of agri-environment delivery in England?

    With the successor to the previous agri-environment schemes in England nearing it's final stages of development, Farming Minister George Eustice made a trip to visit the RSPB's Hope Farm earlier this month to see how we've been giving nature a home on the farm. Image: George Eustice...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm: 2014 has been so much better

    The last two years have been very challenging at Hope Farm with lower numbers of breeding birds than our high point in 2011, and disappointing crop yields. The summer of 2012 will long be etched in many of our memories with the incessant rain after a prolonged drought, which had a considerable impact...
  • Blog Post: Stone-curlews past and present

    Posted on behalf of Andrew Holland, Farmland Project Officer in the Brecks Stone-curlews are an amazing and instantly recognizable bird, with their large yellow eyes and long yellow legs. They fly hundreds of miles each year to areas which have stony, light sandy soils to breed in England, these include...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm update - it's not just the birds and the bees. Butterflies count too!

    The Hope Farm Winter Bird Index, calculated from whole-farm counts made during December, January and February, for 2013/14 is 6.84 . This is a slight decline from 2012/13 (7.35). However, it is the 3 rd highest winter index figure for Hope Farm since counts began in winter 2000/01 (baseline = 1) and...
  • Blog Post: The plot thickens...

    February. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who still has a carpet, you’re soaked, it’s dark, and there’s still nearly a year to wait for Christmas. If it’s not the storms that are surging, then it’s the fog that’s freezing, and there’s no sign of any...
  • Blog Post: A Partridge in an Oil Field

    To be honest I’m not known for my love of Christmas carols, but at our department Christmas lunch and get together, the team that I work in gave a slightly different rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas with each day related to our work areas. This included providing swifts with nest holes...
  • Blog Post: Choosing for the Children at Christmas

    “How’s your Christmas shopping going?” I’m usually the person who doesn’t get started till Christmas Eve, so I dread the question, especially when it comes from one of those super-shoppers that cleaned up on Black Friday! At this time of year, people spend lots of...
  • Blog Post: Nature of Farming Award - A fine crop of highly commended farms for the Northern England Region

    Guest blog by our Northern England Advisory team On our recent visits the Northern England Judging Team were very pleased to award High Commendations to three entrants: Southburn is just one of 11 farms owned/managed by JSR Farms Ltd. JSR Farms was founded in 1958 and are now one of the largest...
  • Blog Post: In The Zone

    It’s good to be part of something special, a special band of people making a real change for the better. Isn’t that what people want to be ultimately? Belonging to a special community or a niche of society that others can look upon and admire? For instance I wanted to be a Jedi when I was...
  • Blog Post: While stocks last..

    Fancy filling your belly for free? If like me you are a frugal type and not easily embarrassed, this is the time of year to scour Fen roadsides. Lorries piled to the brim with spuds, onions and carrots are trundling back and forth as fast as they can go from the field to the packing plant. You can...
  • Blog Post: A positive outlook?

    In my office, I'm often mocked for my eternal optimism. Even when asked the question "What can we do about farmland bird declines?" my answer would be 'Lots!" I'm positive that the future could be much brighter for many of the specialist birds that depend on farmland for survival...
  • Blog Post: A new Holland, but not the tractor variety!

    Posted on behalf of Andrew Holland, Brecks Farm Conservation Adviser Andrew is one of the newest members of our farm advice team, based in the Brecks in East Anglia. Here he tells us what inspired him to make the change from farming to working with the RSPB, and how he'll be helping wildlife-friendly...
  • Blog Post: It's Good to Talk

    Weather. We all love to talk about it, none more so than farmers. Here in the Cambridgeshire Fens we are in the paradoxical position of having just had the second wettest April since records began but being one of the counties still worst hit by drought. As you can imagine that’s giving us plenty...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm Yields: crops and birds

    August is really the end of the farming year as the final crops are harvested, here at least, and also marks the end of the breeding season. So it seems a good time to do a round-up of how our harvest went and how our breeding birds fared. Both the crops and the wildlife on the farm are heavily influenced...
  • Blog Post: It's the Little Things...

    Don’t you find that the world always seems better when you’re out in the fresh air, enjoying the steady arrival of spring? We outdoor types on the Eastern England farmland advisory team certainly think so. Looking at various winged things with RSPB and Buglife farmland bods ...
  • Blog Post: A difficult cropping year at Hope Farm

    The weather dictates everything in farming whether you are an arable or livestock farmer. For us as an arable farm cultivations, spraying operations and harvesting are all at the mercy of the weather. Crop growth is also very much affected by the weather. © Andy Hay, RSPB Images When wheat...
  • Blog Post: Mind the (Hungry) Gap

    Is it nearly Spring yet? Well, it depends who you ask. While we patiently hang on for the 21 March, optimistic Celts have already celebrated Imbolc on 1 February. Its arrival was also heralded on 1 February by chicken farmers the world over, as they celebrated the day of their patron saint, St Brigid...
  • Blog Post: On the second day of Christmas.......

    My true love sent to me two turtle doves (are you singing it in your head yet?). I prefer my birdlife in the wild, but these are two turtle doves that I would accept in my hands with great pleasure! Cally Higginbotham, a fabulous chocolatier from Chesterfield, visited Malta, where she discovered...
  • Blog Post: Creating space for a battling midfielder

    Back in the Wilkinson years, before Batty turned England Captain, before Kamara turned Sky pundit, and before Eric turned Red, I was a Leeds fan. Me and Dad had season tickets in the East Stand and never missed a home game. Eventually the endless 0-0 draws under George Graham put me off football altogether...
  • Blog Post: Plump and Chirpy

    by Stuart Croft - Cirl Bunting Reintroduction Field Officer Go back a couple of generations and the plight of one particular species was not a good one. The cirl bunting – a sparrow-sized bird, closely related to the yellowhammer - gets its name from an Italian translation meaning plump and...
  • Blog Post: The Village Bunting’s Out for Easter in the Fens

    Spotted on my way home from work – a 100-strong mixed flock of buntings and yellowhammers , with the odd tree sparrow thrown in for good measure. Tweeting, jangling hissing and popping away, they are restless, exuberant and full of spring energy, torn between winter flocking behaviour and breaking...
  • Blog Post: Showing MEPs how farming and nature conservation can go hand in hand

    Over the summer months, the RSPB has met with many MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to discuss topics as varied as seabird by-catch from fishing fleets to biodiversity in the UK’s overseas territories. For two MEPs in July, the focus of our meetings was to demonstrate how farming and...
  • Blog Post: Glorious Bustards

    By Andrew Taylor, Great Bustard LIFE+ Project Adviser Thanks to a reintroduction project on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, the great bustard can now be seen on farms in south west England for the first time since the early 19 th Century. Perhaps the UK’s rarest farmland bird, this spectacular...
  • Blog Post: Here’s one we prepared earlier...

    I LOVE this time of year! Is it the long days? The celebrations? The countryside bustling with life? All these things! But most of all it's because it’s the time of year I get to make farmers pose self-consciously for photos in patches of pretty flowers! Awk-ward! Meet my latest victim...