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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.
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  • Blog Post: Hairstreaks and brocades at Hope Farm

    Much of the biodiversity monitoring that takes place at Hope Farm is focused on birds, as you would expect. Fifteen years of breeding and wintering bird surveys has shown just how well birds have recovered during RSPB ownership and management of this farm. But as we all know birds are just one part of...
  • Blog Post: Open Farm Sunday and other visitors to Hope Farm

    One of the real pleasures of working at Hope Farm is showing visitors around. Many of our visitors are specifically invited due to their areas of work, influence or interest such as the visit by Farming Minister George Eustice MP last autumn at a crucial time during negotiations about future agri-environment...
  • Blog Post: A Turnaround for the Tree Sparrow at Hope Farm?

    The Tree Sparrow is one of our rarest birds associated with lowland and mixed farmland, having undergone declines of 90% between 1970-2012*. It was a source of great excitement therefore when 24 birds were photographed feeding at a supplementary feeding table on RSPB’s Hope Farm in November 2014...
  • Blog Post: On a High at Hope Farm: Results of the Winter Farmland Bird Count 2014/15

    On RSPB Hope Farm our monitoring work includes surveying both breeding birds during the summer and birds using the farm during the winter months too. The winter surveys are carried out monthly from December to February. On one morning in each month the whole farm is surveyed by a number of surveyors...
  • Blog Post: Hope Farm: Spring Update 2015

    There are definite signs of spring in the air here at Hope Farm: skylarks were singing all around me as I walked into the farm this morning, the first small tortoiseshells and queen buff-tailed bumblebees have been seen flying around the farmhouse orchard. While the winter was generally another mild...
  • Blog Post: Open Farm Sunday at Hope Farm, come and visit us

    Much has been written about the growing disconnect between the increasingly urbanised population of the UK, where its food comes from and the wildlife in the countryside. For conservationists this is worrying. Wildlife may become less valued and the importance of protecting it may not be fully realised...
  • 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: Hope Farm inspiring and helping conservationists across Europe

    Since RSPB bought and started managing Hope Farm in 2000 we have hosted a wide range of visitors, from groups of farmers, industry representatives, government officials, MPs and Ministers. All have come to see how we have successfully halted and reversed the declines of farmland birds and farmland wildlife...
  • 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: 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: Mixed fortunes at Hope Farm

    Harvest at Hope Farm finished at the end of August, and ran smoothly in comparison to last year. Yields were variable though with oilseed rape and peas producing average yields, as did the first wheat. Our spring wheat yielded well above expectation, balanced by our second wheat which was exceptionally...
  • 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: 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...
  • Blog Post: Lapwings breeding at Hope Farm

    Lapwings, along with skylarks, are iconic farmland birds, easily recognised by anyone. The lapwings’ calls, as they swoop over the fields displaying, is one of the first signs that spring has arrived and winter has broken. Once a common breeding bird across most of Britain, numbers have declined...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • 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: 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: A practical guide to helping farmland wildlife....by farmers

    Have you ever meet someone for the first time and just start talking as if you have known them for years? At a party, social evening or down on the farm? That is what exactly happened when I met Charlie Moores of Talking Naturally down on a farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens, when I was fortunate enough...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • 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: The end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end?

    Harvest is in! Yesterday saw the final crop harvested here at Hope Farm with our field beans combined on a glorious Cambridgeshire evening. The completion of harvest is a time to celebrate, especially when it has been taken in dry as this year. This means there are no additional drying costs prior...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: The Hope Farm Bird Indicator has gone up by 211% - what does that mean?

    It has been another fantastic summer for birds at Hope Farm, our arable farm in Cambridgeshire, with the Farmland Bird Indicator going up again, albeit slightly since 2010. The index is now 211% above what it was when the RSPB took over the farm in 2000. This is huge when you consider that the national...