Welcome to Kings' June e-newsletter. This edition advises growers on their summer game cover options, reiterates the benefits of autumn sown wild bird seed mixes, highlights the opportunities available for stewardship-minded farmers and shares news of a recent Kings prize winner.
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Not too late to establish game cover crops
Crops should now be progressing well in warmer conditions, but after torrential rains and heavy pest and disease pressures in some areas, they may not have performed as well as expected. All is not lost though, as brassicas such as fodder radish, kale rape, mustard and Utopia can all be drilled until the end of July and even into early August. Seek expert advice to determine whether re-establishment is the best way forward for your land.
Where extra game cover is required, crops can also be sown in arable fields by auto-casting seed into standing crops around 5-10 days before harvest, or by direct drilling seed into the stubble after combining.
Have you considered autumn sown wild bird seed mixes?
With spring sowing now complete, it’s a good idea to think ahead and start planning autumn sown wild bird seed mixtures for habitat improvements and stewardship. Autumn sowing is a great way to establish wild bird seed mixtures as this prevents disturbing the land in springtime and will provide good rearing cover, as well as getting a head start on annual weeds.
Starting to spray ground off now and work into a fine seed bed will allow time for another flush of weeds before drilling and create a stale seed bed in preparation for a crop such as Kings Autumn Sown Bumblebird Mix or Enhanced Wild Bird Seed Mix. Sown in September, these mixes provide a wide range of pollen and nectar rich plants the following summer, as well as supplying small seeds over the winter months.
Make the most of stewardship opportunities
With Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship applications closing at the end of September, growers are encouraged to order application packs as soon as possible to allow time to seek advice and prepare their paperwork.
Countryside Stewardship offers five years of support, with agreements tailored to individual farms to target soil and water issues, improve biodiversity and protect the historic environment.
As well as providing expertise on managing crops under the scheme, Kings can help growers to make a successful application and advise on CAP and greening measures, Ecological Focus Areas and the Basic Payment Scheme to meet requirements.
In Scotland, Kings has been busy advising on establishment and maintenance of species rich grassland, wild bird seed mixtures and grass strips in arable fields for growers that have been accepted into the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme. For guidance on fulfilling schemes already in place and preparing for the next application window, speak to your local advisor.
Growers can also discuss stewardship needs with Kings at a number of events lead by Campaign for the Farmed Environment over the next few weeks. The meetings will focus on how to help pollinators on farm, with expert guidance from local Kings advisors on how to establish and manage crops under Countryside Stewardship, Ecological Focus Areas and where no scheme is in place. For further details and a full list of our events, please click here.
College competition winners plant Kings prize
Warwickshire College students have drilled Kings Moir Mix this month after their lecturer, David Reith, won the seed at a college clay shooting competition earlier this year.
BASC’s annual Gamekeeping College Clay Shoot was attended by 100 students from 11 colleges across the UK in March. Mr Reith scored 63 out of 80 clays to take the Top Lecturer prize and win three acres of Kings Moir Mix for his college.
Alan Scorer organised Warwickshire College’s attendance at the event. “The seed was a great prize and will really help the students on our agriculture and countryside management courses, it’s a huge benefit to us,” he said. “The competition was well run and the prize is much appreciated.”