Friday, 30 January 2015

Grassland farmers get involved in Farmland Bird Count

On Friday 23rd January Ros Turner attended a Bird Identification Day at GWCT’s Allerton Project. Ros farms in Leicestershire and is an eighth generation farmer, running her own grassland farm in Leicestershire. She has a flock of 125 early lambing Suffolk Cross ewes and 250 Mules ewes lambing in March, and also produces hay and haylage for the equine market. She is keen that livestock and grassland aren’t forgotten in the Big Farmland Bird Count; here are her thoughts:

“The Farmland Bird Count is not just to show the great work being done by arable farmers sowing wild bird seed mixes and incorporating margins and buffer strips into their farming systems but to show the work being done by all farmers to reverse the decline in farmland birds.

All grassland farms including dairy and lowland beef and sheep farms are playing their part. Species rich permanent pasture has a wealth of biodiversity supporting both insect and seed eating birds. Equally more intensively managed temporary grassland with its closely grazed and open swards can provide an ideal habitat for many birds eg Lapwings; with a bit of thought the grass can be used by livestock and farmland birds alike.

The environmental value of grassland and the work done by grassland farmers, is often unrecognised and undervalued and with the end of the ELS scheme, soon to be unrewarded!

Hedgerow management around grass fields is an area where many grassland farmers have been working on improving biodiversity and nesting areas on their farms and we need to show what we've been doing. Getting involved in the farmland bird count is one of the ways we can get our message heard , so sign up and spend half an hour between 7th and 15th February counting birds .”

Taking part in the Big Farmland Bird Count

For more information about the Big Farmland Bird Count and for details on how you can take part - please click here.

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