Poppies in a cereal field: CREDIT Justin Heath
Farming plays an important role in Worcestershire's countryside and has a significant impact on wildlife in the county. We own and manage farms at Naunton Beauchamp and Lower Smite as well as managing many other grazed and cultivated fields around the county.
Healthy soils lie at the heart of healthy wildlife and food production systems. After the 2nd World War, the government instructed farmers to plough up grasslands and maximize yields through the use of intensive cultivation, artificial inputs and plant and animal breeding.
Now, over 64 years later, the UK agriculture industry is once again being asked to maximise production as world population is predicted to reach c9billion by 2050. This time around, however, we do not have inherent fertility in the land and it seems likely that further intensification using fertilizers and pesticides will be promoted, possibly to the detriment of wildlife.
This context, together with the fact that our nature reserves are surrounded by the farmed landscape, makes it vital that we work together with other Worcestershire land-managers and deliver conservation advice on a wide range of subjects. We can offer help with meadow restoration and creation, conservation grazing, soil and water management, green manures, organic farming , woodland management and wetland restoration and creation.
Cotswolds Seeds invited our Agriculture and Grasslands Officer, Caroline Corsie, to present a couple of videos about what we're doing with red clover, rye grass and green manures at Lower Smite Farm...
And from 2014's Soil Association Conference, here's Caroline discussing the restoration of soil and wildlife at Lower Smite Farm...