Farming in Protected Landscapes
A new grant scheme has been launched for farmers in protected landscapes, that is National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although not an agri-environment scheme, it will fund projects that support nature recovery and mitigate the impact of climate change as well as providing opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage. The grants will provide 100% of the cost provided there is no commercial gain to the farmer.
There have been numerous warnings of severe food shortages this autumn, largely as a result of the pandemic. There have been growing shortages of staff for the fruit and vegetable harvest following Brexit and tighter immigration rules. This has now been exacerbated by the large number of people ‘pinged’ and told to self-isolate. There are exemptions for workers in the food supply chain but these are too little and too late according to industry leaders. One major food producer, 2 Sisters Food Group, warns that we may see the worst food shortages for 75 years since wartime rationing!
Curlews at Sandringham
The curlew is one of Britain’s most threatened birds, red listed, and there are a number of initiatives to increase numbers. The latest is taking place in Norfolk with curlews released on the Ken Hill and Sandringham Estates with the support of the Prince of Wales. 106 eggs were collected from military and civil airfields where nesting curlew pose a risk to air safety and taken to a hatchery where 84 chicks fledged. These have now been released.
Harvest is now fully underway, at least between the showers and thunder storms. The hot dry weather earlier in July ripened crops rapidly and most winter barley has now been cut. Early reports suggest average to good yield and quality. Oilseed rape has been cut, too, with very mixed results. Most farmers are still optimistic about the winter wheat harvest which will be underway shortly. Livestock farmers have taken their second cut of grass and clover leys, with good yields after the rain and warm weather. What is needed now is a prolonged spell of dry weather.