Free farm wildlife management advice

Free environmental stewardship farm walks, organised by Adas on behalf of Natural England, are going to be held across the Eastern counties this winter.

Free environmental stewardship farm walks, organised by Adas on behalf of Natural England, are going to be held across the Eastern counties this winter.

These are aimed at farmers who have an Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) agreement in place.

They will provide a refresher on management requirements for the various options and give an opportunity to discuss and share ELS experiences with other farmers in the locality. Advice will be available from ADAS and Natural England environmental stewardship advisers.

Launched by Defra in March 2005, Environmental Stewardship (ES) enables farmers in England to secure regular payments for undertaking simple to manage environmental protection and enhancement work on their land. More than 3,550 farmers in the East of England have already signed up to Environmental Stewardship. Almost 687,600 ha of land in this region is now under agreement.

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On Wednesday, December 6, (10.30am to 1pm) David Barker and family will welcome visitors to Lodge Farm, Westhorpe, near Stowmarket.

There will be a tour of part of the 508-hectare farm, which is rotational arable, and has numerous ponds and woodland. It is already in ELS and submitted an application for Higher Level Stewardship (HLS). There will be various options to consider here including hedges, ditches and buffers.

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On Monday, December 11 (10.30am), a 700-ha arable farm at Kirby Cane Farms, near Bungay, which is already in ELS, will be the farm walk venue. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape, vining peas and sugar beet.

On Tuesday, December 12, there is a farm walk at Pidley, near St Ives, by invitation of Kelvin German.

His 100 ha arable enterprise has combinable crops and land let for potatoes. It is in the third year of countryside stewardship and has some established options including wild bird mix, pollen and nectar mix, beetlebanks, grass margins and arable reversion which will all be seen on the walk.

It also has an ELS agreement including hedgerow and ditch management as well as over-wintered stubble.

The Stody estate, near Melton Constable, is the location for a tour on December 13, also 10.30am start.

Part of a 1,700 ha estate, the cropping includes potatoes, carrots, peas, sugar beet, wheat and barley. The farm is currently in the process of applying for ELS and has grassland recreation, grass margins, hedgerow planting, coppicing and public access.

On Thursday, December 14 at Willow Farm, North Brink, near Wisbech St Mary, farmers can visit a 124 ha farm which is mainly arable but also boasts an organic orchard.

Numbers on the walks are be limited, so farmers must reserve a place in advance by emailing conservation with details of your name, full postal address and holding number. Alternatively telephone the event booking line on Tel: 01954 268301

Other events are planned in the region. To register interest, email or ring 01954 268301.

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