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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.
Results for arable farming
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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 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: The Benefits to Wider Biodiversity of Land Management for Cirl Buntings

    Having recently started as an intern on the cirl bunting project, I am learning all the time about agri-environment schemes and the work that the RSPB does with farmers. For example, I learned that cirl bunting project staff have influenced the application of agri-environment schemes on over 10,000 hectares...
  • Blog Post: National Organic Cereals

    Earlier this week I joined a barn full of agricultural folk a few miles outside of Milton Keynes at the National Organic Cereals (NOC) event. Run by Organic Farmers & Growers , this annual get together has proven to be a good place to be for several reasons. But first, why organic? In my experience...
  • Blog Post: Pesticide analysis underlines need for more sustainable farming

    A major review of systemic pesticides – the best known of which are neonicotinoids - led by a range of leading scientists has confirmed these chemicals are already causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species. Additionally the authors have recognised the potential...
  • Blog Post: Blue skies, Cereals and greening

    It's been a busy few weeks on the farming advice front, what with Open Farm Sunday, show season getting in to full swing and the recent announcements on greening from Defra. If you haven't had chance to read Martin Harper's blog on our response to the announcement, you can do that here ....
  • Blog Post: Hoping for farm visitors on Open Farm Sunday!

    Yesterday, I posted about Open Farm Sunday which takes place across the UK this weekend. This year, we're also holding an event on our very own Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. Farm Manager, Ian Dillon, tells us more.... "One of the best parts of my job as Hope Farm Manager is showing people...
  • Blog Post: Have you seen this bird?

    As the breeding season gets into full swing, farmers and birdwatchers are being urged to keep a lookout for Montagu’s harriers – the rarest breeding bird of prey in the UK, which nests almost entirely on arable farmland. Montagu's harriers make the journey all the way from Senegal...
  • Blog Post: Award for stone-curlew protection project on Downton Abbey estate

    The popular TV series Downton Abbey and the stone-curlew, one of the UK’s rarest and most unusual birds, might not seem to have anything in common at first glance. However, the RSPB Wessex Stone-curlew Project Team has been working with the landowner at Highclere Castle in Hampshire where the...
  • 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: Come and see us this summer!

    This time of year is always a busy period for us - not only are we out visiting farmers, carrying out early morning surveys and (hopefully) enjoying the weather, but it's also show season! This gives us a great opportunity to talk to lots of farmers as well as other advisors and agricultural organisations...
  • Blog Post: Farming to save the "fat man"

    Or the corn bunting to give him his proper name! The nickname 'fat bird of the barley’ comes from their rotund appearance and their association with cereal cultivation. Corn bunting by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com) Corn buntings used to be widespread throughout Europe, but are now one...
  • Blog Post: A new GM crop in Europe - the first of many?

    Remember when anything to do with Genetically Modified food (aka GM) guaranteed front page newspaper coverage? It seems those days are well and truly past. Last week the EU approved GM " Maize 1507 ", the first new commercial GM crop to be grown in the EU since 1998, with the mainstream media...
  • 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: Farming Together with Nature in East County Down

    Posted on behalf of Hayley Sherwin, Conservation Advisor in Northern Ireland For anyone who lives in or has visited east County Down you will agree that it is a beautiful region of Northern Ireland with an array of habitats and special places. You only have to travel down the Ards Peninsula with Strangford...
  • 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: Getting ready for the neonics ban at Hope Farm, and lessons so far

    The much-debated restrictions on neonicotinoid seed treatments will begin this December. The RSPB supports the ban but shares the concern expressed by many that farmers may resort to using greater amounts of other pesticides. Like farmers across the country we at Hope Farm are reviewing our pest management...
  • Blog Post: Farmageddon!

    Posted on behalf of Niki Williamson, Fenland Farmland Conservation Advisor Imagine the scene. You’re sitting in your home surrounded by your family with a fridge full of nice food when, out of the blue, somebody bulldozes it down around you. Fleeing for your life, you take refuge in the nearest...
  • 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: Nicholas Watts gives nature a home

    Nicholas is a top chap and his farm is full of farm wildlife, a real pleasure to visit. Nicholas constantly comes up with new ways of creating habitat, not frightened to try something new but equally not afraid to admit when things need to change. I always enjoy our conversations about farm wildlife...
  • Blog Post: Who’s ever heard of the bull-nosed swollen-knee?

    By Nick Tomalin, Stone-curlew Project Officer Who’s ever heard of the bull-nosed swollen-knee? No? How about Burhinus oedicnemus ? Still nothing? What if I said stone-curlew ? Now I hear a tiny groan of recognition, though I suspect that many of those who have heard of the species may already...
  • 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: Introducing our new farm advice package

    "Really good website" "Nice stand, informative and friendly staff." "Excellent idea." Just some of the comments we had on our stand at the Cereals event. We're particularly pleased because these comments came from farmers looking at our brand new approach to...