The Campaign for the Farmed Environment aims to pull together the huge amount of work that farmers and land managers already do to encourage wildlife, to benefit soil and water resources and support farmland birds. It promotes existing stewardship schemes and encourages voluntary management that will benefit the environment, whilst ensuring efficient and profitable food production through a range of methods, including on-farm events.
Local activity in the North West is co-ordinated by the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy led by Dr George Fisher. There are three local co-ordinators for the areas of Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire. See the contacts list on the right of this page to see where they are all based.
The latest CFE events, as and when planned by co-ordinators in the North West, can be found on the events pages of this website.
Latest news - are bee-friendly crops the best for all pollinator species?
A new study part-funded by the GWCT is looking at whether current 'pollinator-friendly' management techniques are actually having the required effect on bee populations. To see the full story click here.
Is your ELS agreement expiring?
If your ELS agreement is expiring this year there are various options available to you. CFE is encouraging farmers to retain some of their ELS features, even if they decide not to apply for the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme. These features tend to be on the least productive areas of the farm anyway and so it is likely to be uneconomical to try to return the land to production, and by embracing the voluntary approach farmers are demonstrating the good work that they do for the environment.
CFE held events, aimed at farmers with expiring ELS agreements, across the region in June, with good attendance and feedback. The picture below shows John Wilson in Cumbria who kindly hosted the event at Street Head Farm - click on the picture for the full report by Cumbria co-ordinator Paul Arkle.
If you are wanting to apply to the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme the application window is now open and more information is available here.
CFE online Pollinator training module
Aimed at agricultural advisors and agronomists the CFE training modules have been designed to improve knowledge of CFE and the specific focus areas. The new Pollinator module provides the most up-to-date training and assessment and is worth 4 BASIS points for those who are registered.
Pollinator Awareness Week takes place 13th - 19th July.
Click on the picture below for further information and find out what simple steps you can take on your farm to help support these precious insects.
Grow your own pollinator plot
To coincide with Pollinator Awareness Week, CFE are working with their industry partners to offer two different seed mixes.
The Field Margin Mix is designed as a long-lasting flower-rich seed mix which will deliver resources for pollinators and other invertebrates whilst fitting in with productive farming. It has been produced by CFE and Limagrain UK, working in partnership with BASF.
The Operation Pollinator mix is an autumn sown annual mix which is being offered again, by CFE working with Syngenta and Kings, following its success last year. Contact your local area CFE representative for more information and to claim your voucher.
Picture a Pollinator and win one hectare of seed
Have you a pollen and nectar plot on your farm that is buzzing with bees and insects this summer? CFE would love you to share these pictures and in doing so have the opportunity to win one hectare of seed mix to plant this autumn.
The picture below was taken at Stonyfold Farm, Goosnargh, and shows the Operation Pollinator annual mix which was sown last year. Click on the picture to find out more details on how you can enter this exciting competition.
Soils – back to basics
The Lancashire & Greater Manchester Farmer Network welcomed independent consultant Neville Pearson to our first on-farm meeting of the summer at Westhead Farm, Lathom by kind permission of Michael Rimmer. Unfortunately the weather was less than ideal for examining a soil pit in the field but there was a good deal of useful discussion about what we can do to help protect our most valuable asset. Click on the picture below to find out more and read a full report from the event:
Are you spraying with grandfather rights?
If so you have until 26th November 2015 to get a recognised certificate of competence.
For more information on the changes to regulations and what you will need to do to be compliant visit the Voluntary Initiative website
Pollinator events in the Northwest
Pollinators are big news at the moment with the National Pollinator Strategy setting out the UK Government's plan to help ensure that pollinating insects thrive and continue their vital role in pollinating our crops. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment have developed a guide for farmers to show how they can help, and events have taken place throughout the country to offer advice and guidance for those farmers wanting to learn more.
A summary of the event held in Lancashire is available here
Independent farm wildlife expert Marek Nowakowski spoke to farmers and advisers about how diversity on farms can be improved without making big changes to overall management. He also looked at the sown pollinator mix on the host farm and discussed tips for successful establishment and management to yield the optimum results.
The management of hedges for wildlife was also discussed using resources provided by Hedgelink
Help Birds & Bees on your farm with the Syngenta seed offer
A new wildflower seed mixture designed to provide valuable food sources for both pollinating insects and wild birds is available this spring, as an extension to the pollinator seed offer that CFE ran with partners last year.
The CFE seed offer is run in conjunction with industry partners, in this case Syngenta Operation Pollinator. The one-year Bees’n’Seeds mix, created and produced by Kings, has been designed to attract and feed pollinators, along with hosting insects that are important food sources for farmland bird chicks. Furthermore, the mix will go on to produce a wide range of seeds for the birds to feed on during the winter months.
The offer will provide 450 hectare packs of Bees’n’Seeds mix for just £50/ha – along with associated agronomic advice and grower guidelines.
If you would like a voucher for your farm please contact your local CFE representative.