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Nature of farming award
Stepping Up for Nature
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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...
22 Apr 2013
Weathering the weather
By Derek Gruar, Senior Researcher, Hope Farm One of the core tasks here at Hope Farm is monitoring the numbers of birds that are actually using the farm. In summer this requires walking the farm boundaries and recording birds that are seen and heard onto maps. Compared to winter this is straight...
18 Jan 2012
RSPB at the Oxford Farming Conference
Blog post by: Richard Winspear, Senior Agriculture Advisor RSPB I had a great couple of days at the Oxford Farming Conference. We hosted a breakfast fringe meeting to celebrate the winners of the Nature of Farming Awards 2011 and launched the first Farmland Bird Friendly Zone. Martin Harper, our new...
9 Jan 2012
By Niki Williamson, Fenland Farmland Bird Adviser We like overwintered stubble in the Fens. It helps prevent the notorious ‘fen blow’, a terrifying local weather phenomenon, where dark clouds of loose peat blast across the countryside like black sandstorms, making it look like the end...
16 Dec 2011
All I needed was the rain...
The exceptionally dry conditions in eastern England have continued through harvest and crop establishment. This has made crop management easier in some ways but much more difficult in others. Easier in that all our crops were harvested dry thereby avoiding additional drying costs, more difficult in that...
21 Nov 2011
Barn Owls return to breed at Hope Farm
By Derek Gruar, RSPB Conservation Science, Hope Farm All inspections and ringing of nesting barn owls on the farm are covered by a Natural England S1 Disturbance Licence. For only the second time in the eleven years since RSPB became the owners of Hope Farm, we are pleased to be the custodians...
25 Sep 2011
Cornish Dumplings Sir, or do you prefer Biscuits?
By Ian Dillon, Hope Farm Manager As we enter the autumn it is time to reflect on the harvest and breeding season at Hope Farm. Farming is always a challenging business. Not enough rain, too much rain, too cold, crop damage from woodpigeons or rabbits, cost of fertiliser – the list of...
25 Sep 2011
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...
23 Sep 2011
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...
16 Aug 2011
My Hope Farm diary
This week sees the end of my brief term acting as Hope Farm Manager. I have been overseeing operations since Chris Bailey left in June. It has been great to have more direct involvement in the running of the farm, but the really interesting stuff is just underway. The oilseed rape was harvested on 29...
8 Aug 2011
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