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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: 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: ‘Neat and tidy is not great for nature’, but it can be a brave step not to be.

    I like this short adage – it sums up what many detailed actions for helping wildlife are ultimately about, not just on farmland, but everywhere we care to manage – from our gardens to parks and verges. It also gets across that helping wildlife is mostly about attitude.... that deliberately...
  • Blog Post: Keeping yourself grounded

    By Nick Tomalin, Wessex Farmland Projects Manager Image courtesy of RSPB Images. Spreading hedge parsley. As an enthusiastic nine year old I was always looking up. Partly this was down to a cheery disposition, partly because I was shorter than everyone else at that age, and partly it was due...
  • Blog Post: What is the West Country?

    If, like me, you’re not from round ‘ere, then maybe it’s cream teas, ice creams on the beach, the wilds of Dartmoor, or rolling green hills. If you are “south westerly” then you probably have a very different opinion! Actually, for me, and RSPB, the West Country is Cornwall...
  • Blog Post: Saying it with Flowers

    Have you ever wondered why flowers make people smile? Many things that make us happy are things that promote our survival - a good square meal, a thirst-quenching drink on a sunny day. But what about flowers? Sure they’re nice to look at, but you can’t really live off them, or use them...
  • Blog Post: Flower power

    Any flower-rich habitats on the farm will look at their best over the next few months, both in terms of the spectacle of the flowers themselves and the associated insects, including butterflies and bumblebees, which rely on them. Peter Thompson (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust) told me that any...
  • Blog Post: Bugs and Birds form alliance

    If you want to help corn buntings what do they need? A load of large bodied insects during the breeding season is a good start. What about Tree sparrows? Well a good supply of water borne invertebrates makes for tasty meals for any young tree sparrow. Making room for farmland birds on a farm requires...
  • Blog Post: Voting is open - we have our finalists!

    Well, the wait is over and we finally have our Nature of Farming Award finalists - and I just about have some fingernails left! After much deliberation, our expert panel of judges have announced Robert Law , David White , Robert Kynaston and Somerset & Carolyne Charrington as this year's top...
  • 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: Release of the new biodiversity indicators from Defra

    Everybody talks about the long-term decline in farmland bird populations because this group has been effectively monitored for the longest period. But there is a growing list of other important farmland taxa that are being monitored including plants and butterflies. Defra released the 2012 report on...
  • 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: A bountiful year for butterflies?

    Farmland butterflies benefited from the best summer weather for seven years, a survey has revealed. The Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS), which assesses the fortunes of common and widespread species, found that many farmland butterflies flourished as a result of long periods of warm, sunny...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: A story of flowers, floods and friends

    I first heard from Mr Blackburn back last November. His current agri-environment agreement was due to end soon, and he’d been invited by Natural England to apply for Higher Level Stewardship . Could I help? The farm was within the Upper Thames river valleys project area, so a few days later I met...