Wednesday, 30 May 2012
View From The Margins - by my friend John Clarke
John Clarke who has been helping with the conservation projects at Overbury is the first and maybe only guest blog writter to appear on Farmer Jake's blog. What he has to say is very inspirational and personally gratifying. To know that we as farmers can play a really big positive role in our countryside, wildlife and biodiversity. It's a message we have to share to the wider audience about what is great about British farming, growing food and expanding the wildlife we share our fields with.
As a Conservation Advisor, over the past few years I’ve been working closely with Jake Freestone, offering ideas for wildlife conservation and then monitoring the effect on wildlife. During that time Overbury Farms has gone through an exciting period of change as Government schemes have focused increasingly on wildlife conservation.
It is particularly rewarding as an advisor to see ideas and schemes bearing fruit and for me one of the most exciting aspects concerns field margins. There are a number of options for improving the wildlife value of this habitat – from putting them down to grass, planting a ‘meadow mixture’ of wildflowers and grasses, cultivating and planting with the main crop but leaving the margins unsprayed, planting them with a wild bird seed mixture – or a game crop – or just cultivating and leaving unplanted.
I love walking these margins, which often occur alongside footpaths, and recording all the birds, plants, butterflies – and many other forms of wildlife. I and other advisors love to see a situation where a range of these habitats are connected and planned to link with each other and a range of different wildlife habitats.