Robert is a regular host of Cereals, the largest agricultural show for arable farmers, and wishes to show his visitors how integrating wildlife management makes business sense and delivers his contribution to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.
Robert's principle is to grow good quality arable crops and good quality wildlife habitats. Being a producer for Jordans, the breakfast cereal and cereal bar producers, he abides by their 'Conservation Grade' standard, which includes managing at least 10 per cent of his land for wildlife.
Robert says: 'For me, it makes sense to grow crops and rear livestock on my most productive land, and manage some of the less productive areas for wildlife. These areas need management to maximise the wildlife benefits, so that the environmental benefits of set-aside can be replaced on much less land.'
For Robert, Environment Schemes are a means of making his environmental work pay its way within the farming business. As well as appreciating the wildlife they generate, Robert uses the schemes to make a profit on his least productive land and spread his risks on his drought-prone soils.
A recent V&FA survey of part of his farm found good populations of many of the declining farmland birds, including corn buntings, grey partridges, lapwings and yellow wagtails amongst the more common skylarks, yellowhammers and linnets.
Collectively, these species benefit from his policy of providing plenty of seed food through the winter and insect food through the summer, using Environmental Stewardship options such as wild bird seed mixtures and nectar flower mixtures.