Our soils are our greatest asset, and over the last 40 years our soils have been degraded through modern farming practices.
It is our aim to reverse the damage that has been done while still maintaining a productive and profitable farm – this is known as ‘Regenerative Agriculture’.
Regenerative agriculture has 5 key principles:
- Reduce soil disturbance
- Keep the ground covered all year round
- Have a living crop in the ground at all times
- Reintroduce livestock onto the land
- Grow a diverse range of crops
Our first objective was to reduce heavy/deep cultivations that disrupt the microbial network within the soil. In addition we are carefully reducing the amount pesticides and inorganic fertilisers we are using which can have an effect on soil health; the use of cover crops are becoming a great way of increasing carbon within the soils which in turn helps produce organic matter. Sheep have also been reintroduced onto our farm and graze our cover crops and next year will graze our herbal leys.
The photo to the left shows cover crops planted for the sheep to graze the following spring.
Over the last 25 years we have planted over 15 kilometres of native hedgerows on the farm, creating a string of wildlife corridors connecting different parts of the farm plus the wider environment. These hedges also enhance the landscape making it more enjoyable for the general public who use the footpaths on our land or drive past our fields. Each year it is our aim to plant more hedgerows, coppice tired hedgerows and gap up others plus plant trees wherever possible.
The photo to the right shows a hedgeline planted in 2020 which will extend the wildlife corridor from Chantry Lane back to Southlands Farm.
We have introduced grass margins along our water courses which act as buffer strips to prevent pesticides or fertilisers reaching the water courses plus they are a haven for small mammals and insects.
Barn owls, Little owls, Tawny Owls, Buzzards, Skylarks, Greater Spotted Wood Peckers, Corn Buntings, Roe Deer, Herons, Meadow Browns, and Painted Lady butterflies are a few of many species that make their home on our farm, and we are proud to be helping them thrive. We are now part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme which helps us undertake more work promoting diversity on our farm.