The first point of action was to identify the most affected plots and isolate them from the regular plot work. Many people inadvertently spread seed around the shoot during topping and cultivation work, so Marc encouraged the worst plots to be left until last where possible in order to minimise further spread.

A cropping plan was then developed so the HLS wild bird seed mixtures could be integrated into an effective rotation with the Poacher maize. This meant that the maize could be sprayed with the required herbicide to control both broad leaved and grass weeds. Following this the next year with a two year cereal free wild bird seed mix also allowed for a similarly effective broad spectrum weed control opportunity.

The 480 hectare estate includes 200 hectares of arable land with the remaining area split between permanent grassland and woodland. With twelve shoot days a season to deliver, estate gamekeeper Joe Smith relies heavily on the success of game cover crops to draw released game away from the woods. The addition of four hectares of new HLS enhanced wild bird seed mixture to the existing four hectares of maize has added a greater degree of flexibility to the shoot’s cover planning.

Prior to the involvement of Kings’ southern England advisor Marc Bull, the estate had historically suffered from rogue millets within many of the plots. This collective of several challenging grass weed species has the frustrating ability to multiply within the seedbed each year if not addressed and can become a significant problem for many shoots. However, using Marc’s expertise, the problem was promptly assessed and an agronomy strategy to aid control was devised and subsequently implemented.

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