Catchment Sensitive Farming
The Catchment Sensitive Scheme has been running since 2005 to offer farmers and land managers practical advice and grants to tackle water resource management in 79 priority catchments in England, approximately 40% of farmland. Now it is to be expanded with its budget almost doubled to £30 million a year to cover the whole country. Run by Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency, more advisers will be recruited to help land managers to comply with the Farming Rules for Water.
Last week saw the start of the grouse season, fondly known as the Glorious Twelfth. However, it has not been so glorious this year as many moors have cancelled early shoots for lack of birds due to extreme weather in spring and early summer. It is not clear how many shoots will be held as the season progresses. The sport is also under threat as never before with licensing due to be introduced in Scotland. There are numerous campaigns to limit or even ban grouse shooting and management practices such as the controlled burning of heather, despite the weight of research evidence that proves the benefits.
The campaign charity, Rewilding Britain, has the aim of rewilding 5% of England and claims that that would create 20,000 jobs, increasing employment by 50% compared with intensive farming. So far, around 0.2% of the country has been rewilded and the figures are extrapolated from 27 large rewilding sites totalling over 72,000 acres.
After the heat wave in July, the weather has been disappointing, cool and wet. However, it has not caused too much disruption to harvest as most winter barley was cut in the dry weather and winter wheat was not ripe. Framers are now taking advantage of some drier days to cut the remaining crops but it is too early to tell what impact the wet weather had on yield and quality.