It's NFFN's nature friendly farming week so here are a few things we are doing on the farm to increase biodiversity.
1) Stopping cutting all the hedges every year. We are bringing ours into a 2-3 year cutting rotation which will hopefully increase their volume and provide a bigger and better habitat for birds and insects.
2) Fencing off hedges to keep stock out and allow hedges to grow and flower throughout the grazing season.
3) Installing water and hot wires around the farm to enable an adaptive rotational grazing system which will help us lengthen the periods in between grazings. This will allow us to manage grass more effectively and flexibly and enable decisions like leaving a paddock for a hay cut or even fallow for a year which will provide space for nature to express itself in our fields not just around the edges.
4) Taking the heat off the land by going cold turkey on nitrogen and slurry on 50 acres of grazing. This is so we can allow the soil to start biologically activating itself again and become a core production asset on the farm rather than just a medium for holding grass and fertiliser in. Our aim is to increase biodiversity below the ground as well as above it.
5) Planting broadleaf native trees in hedges and edges around the farm to increase structural diversity in our habitats
6) Then the final thing is to take time to walk around with our eyes open. The more we look, the more we monitor, the more we find. Below is a selection of the wildflowers we've seen on the farm so far this spring