Pasture Champions: Andy Rumming continued 2/4
What do you do to encourage this biodiversity?
- Mob grazing - Over the last 5 years we have moved away from set stocking fields to rotational/mob grazing.
- This means longer grass in general and a range of grass heights and maturity within any one field. This diversity in vegetation structure, and lack of disturbance has been great for ground nesting birds, insect eating migratory birds like yellow wagtails, and mamals such as hares.
Stopped using chemical worming and blanket fly control - this has meant that we now have really good dung beetle diversity.
- Stopped full reseeding – For fungal diversity ploughing and reseeding are highly detrimental and we are no longer doing this
- Moving hay from a minor to a major forage source
- Mink control – to protect water voles
- Nest boxes for key species like swifts. Later this year we will be erecting an Osprey platform and a Sand Martin tower
How is it connected across the farm and beyond?
To the north we are adjacent to a large complex of reedbeeds and ex gravel pits, now managed for wildlife by the Cotswold Lakes Trust, a mile to the south is another nature reserve where an airfield is being transformed into a huge hay meadow by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Being inbetween these two sites we are able to provide a bridge for wildlife and see a range of specialist birds which are not normally associated with farms like ours, such as European Cranes, Marsh Harrier, Cattle Egrets and Oystercatchers. We also make an effort to have good relationships with these neighbouring organisations, talk to and connect with the people on the ground, and occasionally do contract work for them.