Bluebell Walk for Charity
Following the great success in previous years of the Bluebell Walk at Fishers Farm, Shefford Woodlands, there will a walk through woods with a carpet of bluebells this year at Fairchilds Farm, East Garston on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May. Participants can start anytime between 12 noon and 5pm and there will be refreshments available on the way round. The fee is £5 for adults, children free and dogs welcome, with all proceeds going to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Proceeds from the refreshments will go to the Easton Garston village amenity fund and All Saints Church. For more detail please go to www.bluebellwalkeastgarston.org.uk.
Three Crop Rule Exemption
Farm Minister George Eustice has applied to the European Commission for an exemption for 2018 of the three crop rule across the entire UK. The rule, one of the greening measures introduced in the current CAP regime, requires farmers with more than 30 hectares of arable land to grow at least three different crops. The ground for the request is the poor spring weather with exceptional snow and heavy rain earlier this year that has played havoc with farmers’ cropping plans.
New Zealand Rat Plague
A record-breaking hot summer in New Zealand has led to an explosion of rodent populations with a tenfold increase in some areas. Whilst this is inconvenient in cities, in the countryside it is leading to widespread predation of birds and other fauna bring fears of extinction. There were no predators in New Zealand before man came bringing with him rats, mice, possums and many others. As a result, the native wildlife is ill equipped to respond to predation without centuries of evolution to counter the threat. The plague seriously hampers New Zealand’s commitment to exterminate all non-native predators by 2050.
Spring at Last
Nature has remarkable powers of recovery. After the cold weather with snow and heavy rain of February and March, there was a brief heatwave in April before a return to more spring like conditions. There has been a flurry of activity on farms as spring crops have finally been sown and winter crops speed through their growth stages. Winter rape, that looked backward only a few weeks ago, has burst into flower and grass is growing rapidly. Seedbeds are being prepared for maize for silage and other cover crops to be planted. It remains to be seen how much damage the poor weather has caused, especially to spring crops drilled a month late. As the trees and hedges come into leaf and the blossom colours the landscape, we must now beware the blackthorn winter!