Category Archives: news

Future of Farming conference Jan 2019

https://www.gwct.org.uk/blogs/news/2019/january/secure-your-place-the-future-of-farming-and-agriculture-conference/
There are a lot of conferences around and a lot of changes happening, what will be the outcome ?

Providing a platform for senior decision makers to discuss the key issues within UK Agriculture, Westminster Insight’s timely conference, The Future of Farming and Agriculture Conference, will feature contributions from industry leaders such as the NFU, WWF, and DEFRA.

Unpacking the UK Government’s ground-breaking new Agriculture Bill, the legislation aims to be the basis for a more progressive, profitable and sustainable environment for British farmers, as we move on from the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

Guinea Fowl – out and about

Our young guineas are getting more confident and ranging over their prospective territory .. hoping they will be on tick munching patrols across the paddocks as the spring comes. They drop in to the yard every so often to check up on us .. they are so much fun, and soo pretty. 

Nature Friendly Farming Network

This is definitely US .. every day something is happening to improve our farm ecosystem, to benefit the natural history around us, that in turn benefits the livestock and harvest.
https://www.nffn.org.uk/  Join this as farmer or member of the public

What is the Nature Friendly Farming Network?

Our Manifesto
The landscape in the UK is shaped by farming. Yet not all change in recent times has been desirable; soils have been depleted, water courses degraded and nature has struggled to cope with the pace of change. We have seen declines in over 600 farmland species over the last 50 years. However, many farms are bucking this trend. Soils are being restored, nature is thriving and if more follow this lead we can reverse these declines. With over 70% of the UK being farmland, we need to act now to deliver for wildlife at a landscape scale.

This manifesto seeks to unite the many farmers who are passionate about wildlife and sustainable farming by providing a collective way forward: creating a nature friendly farming network.

The network is open to farmers and the public alike. We will use it to raise awareness of nature friendly farming, share insights and experience and work together for better policies for food and farming.

Oxford Real Farming Conference 2019

Talks on youtube from the 2019 conference

<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAwo2UeKgBg” target=”_blank”>Silvopasture: Planting for Shelter & Forage – Lindsay Whistance, Organic Research Centre</a>
Silvopasture is an ancient practice that integrates trees & pasture into a single system for raising livestock. Research suggests silvopasture for outpaces any grassland technique for counteracting the methane emissions of livestock & sequestering carbon. There are also animal welfare benefits, providing shelter & shade. But how do you get started? What types of trees work best & how long will it take to establish? This session will hear from two farmers who have made a start- in different parts of the UK, with their own climate challenges; and a livestock researcher who will look at the nutritional & behavioural benefits of access to trees for livestock. Hosted by the PFLA Chair: Naomi Oakley. Speaker: Lindsay Whistance, Organic Research Centre

Campaign for local abattoirs

Across the country we need more local abattoirs AND more local butchery and storage facilities.. its not enough to be able to kill, we need facilities to hang for the best amount of time, and butchery to then make the best of the meat we have produced, for feeding ourselves, or selling to our local community.

https://www.localabattoirs.com/ :  Local, traceable meat is only possible with smaller local abattoirs
No smaller, local abattoirs means no local, traceable meat
The UK’s vital network of smaller local abattoirs is an essential part of the infrastructure for the supply of local meat. Farmers, butchers and caterers all rely on them.
We must ensure their continued viability
Our Purpose
The purpose of the Campaign For Local Abattoirs is to help ensure a sustainable future for a UK-wide network of smaller local abattoirs, through lobbying the UK governments to take urgent action, and by working with the industry and governments to find longer-term solutions to the problems facing the sector, including enabling the establishment of mobile abattoirs for on-farm slaughter. Report from 2018 http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Re-localising-farm-animal-slaughter.pdf

Muscovies !!! lots of muscovies

Muscovies at Breakfast – frosty morning

Our lovely Muscovies at breakfast time . These birds are wonderful ducks, different from most of our domestic breeds who are derived from the wild mallard. The Muscovy comes originally from South Africa, is a big, strong, muscular bird.
Most of these are part of our 2018 hatch. Muscovy Mums are really effective, one of our girls was a significant over achiever, hatching and raising 20 youngsters all on her own.

These ducks are one of our working breeds : they lay delicious eggs, they are good meaty ducks, range over acres of grazing and to various ponds at liberty, most are shut in at night (some of them chose not to!!) and morning feeding happens over various parts of our grazing that needs to be conditioned. We are experimenting with working them over strimmed rushes to see if their extra nitrogen deposits will help counter these, and encourage better species of vegetation.

We have spare birds for sale : either as breeding birds, laying birds, or eating birds.

#OFC19 Oxford Farming Conference 2019

Leading conference for farming in 2019
The Oxford Farming conference is live now with other speakers recorded for later.. including the Lynbeck Croft girls and other regenerative farmers .. alongside the “mainstream” ..
<“The agri-food industry conference that kick-starts the year with speakers that will make you think, first-hand politics sessions and the opportunity to network with so many different people. The theme for the 2019 conference is World of Opportunity”>

https://www.ofc.org.uk/conference/2019

Live stream morning 3rd January – interactive so tweet questions using #OFC19 https://www.ofc.org.uk/blog/watch-ofc19-live-stream

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bsrEMetcvAL

 

Gorse flowering on New Years day

Gorse flowers on New Years Day

Celebrating the New Year with new life – the gorse begins to blossom – such a hard working plant for us :
Ulex europeaus is dismissed as a weed by many, but its beauty is not its only benefit to us.
A legume which is converting nitrogen from the air into the soil all the time as well as having deep roots that bring nutrients up from low down. It loves disturbed ground, a true pioneer. Beware breaking it up, it sprouts from each part, as well as from severe cutting down. 
One simple pleasure is the scent on a warm day – almonds or coconut… depending on which aspect, and infusing the flowers in gin captures this to enjoy through the long dark winter. The flowers are also very popular with a variety of pollinators, any early insects will be pleased for these bright beacons. The buds can be pickled as capers.
Crofters have long used gorse bruised as fodder, a good wind shelter, and when it dries it makes super fast kindling, with older sections good hot burning firewood.
Covering veggie beds with pieces of gorse helps to keep the cats off.
We have let quite a lot grow too much and are gradually cutting it down, letting it regenerate to provide browse for the sheep, shelter for the hens, feeding our soils, filling our gin bottles !!
We are doing this gradually to make sure we leave enough for the wild birds to shelter in as the new growth regenerates.
More uses and information can be found at https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ulex+europaeus
Gorse is definitely our friend.
Gorse is wonderful 
– nitrogen fixer 
– protects saplings
– early pollinator and late pollinator
– nectar 
– browse fodder
– GIN! flavouring
– wind break 
– kindling – burns REALLY hot and fast
– bird shelter 
– protect seedlings on garden beds 
– feeds soil when chipped 
– buds pickle as capers
– flowers edible in salads (ed)
– tea from young shoots
– dye from flowers 
– soil stabiliser 
– flea spray
– high potash