Small scale trials of potential solutions to farmland bird decline before use in larger scale research trials or agri-environment scheme options at RSPB Hope Farm

About the farm

In 2000, we purchased Hope Farm, an arable farm in Cambridgeshire. It is contract farmed by one of our neighbouring farmers.

About Hope Farm

In previous years, we predominantly grew autumn-sown crops because they were considered to be more profitable. Recently, we have introduced a greater area of spring-sown crops, to help deal with pernicious weed problems and maintain overall profitability.

During the first five years only two crops were grown - wheat and oilseed rape. These were grown in a three-year rotation (wheat - wheat - oilseed rape). The rotation has evolved to take account of market opportunities and help implement a robust integrated pest management programme, so for harvest 2016 we grew winter wheat, spring barley, winter beans, winter linseed and spring millet.

Along with the arable land, there is also permanent pasture, which is grazed by horses and sheep. The soil is predominantly heavy clay.

Protected saplings at RSPB Hope Farm, Cambridgeshire

Key facts

  • Total farm area: 181 hectares
  • Area of cropping: 161 hectares - harvest 2010
  • Area of pasture: 6 hectares
  • Soil type: Hanslope calcareous clay loam and Evesham clay loam
  • Smallest field: 0.93 hectares
  • Largest field: 34 hectares
  • Length of hedgerows: 10.3 kilometres
  • Area of woodland: 0.5 hectares

 

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 Turtle Dove adult perched on branch with blue sky, Titchwell RSPB Nature Reserve

At Hope Farm, we're developing farming techniques that will benefit wildlife.