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46 FARMING

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Numbers keep rising in in show’s sheep section Wayland Agricultural Show’s sheep section just goes from strength to strength. The show, which is held at Watton on Sunday, August 7, was started 138 years ago. Head sheep stewards, Gail Sprake and Tricia Newman, have seen numbers increase steadily. Mrs Sprake, who runs a pedigree flock of Southdowns at South Elmham All Saints, near Halesworth, has been involved with the show for 20 years. She started exhibiting and then became the secretary to the sheep section. In the Waveney Valley, she and her husband, Michael, have about 600 acres of cereals, sugar beet and oilseed rape and about 50 breeding ewes. She also looks after her daughter’s herd of Irish Moiled cattle, which are category 3 on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s List. Mrs Sprake is also the part-time secretary to the Southdown Sheep Society and has been involved with the RBST for a number of years. And with the increasing interest in rare, unusual and new commercial breeds, the Wayland Show has been able to accommodate many new entrants. With more than 60 pure breeds, as well as numerous crossbreeds and half breeds, it ensures much variety in the sheep lines. Sheep entries have increased year on year. In 2010, there were more than 300 sheep entered in classes. The Wayland Show sheep section has worked closely with the Rare

Breeds Survival Trust and in 2010 the classes reflected the success of the RBST by including classes for rare and traditional native breeds. Some breeds seen at the show, which were once listed as “rare” on the RBST Watch List have become more numerous and so described as traditional or native instead. The Wayland Show is keen to promote the country’s rich agricultural heritage. This August, there will be a range of cattle, sheep and pigs. And in the sheep lines, it will include the small, primitive and rare such as the Boreray, Castlemilk Moorit and Manx Loaghtan, to traditional downland breeds as the Suffolk, Hampshire Down and Southdown, and continental breeds such as the Texel and Beltex. N An award to recognise young achievers will be made by Wayland Agricultural Society. It is open to anyone aged under 21 years and aims to highlight outstanding d e d i c at i o n and contribution to a g riculture, horticulture, wildlife or any other rural related sector or industry. Entrants for the 2011 Young Achiever of the Year will be required to demonstrate and share their commitment and show passion and enthusiasm as well as a sound knowledge of their category. N Nominations in writing to Wayland Agricultural Society, Broom Hall, Richmond Road, Saham Toney, Thetford, Norfolk IP25 7HJ.

YANA helpline: 0845 0948286

Picture: ADRIAN JUDD

MIGHTY OAK:

Chris Skinner in front of an oak dating back to 1471 – which would make it 540 years old.

WHY WASTE STRAW? It is going to be in short supply, Use it all don’t let any get wet. WRAP it keep it dry.

The POMI stack wrapper is the first machine on uk soil which wraps a complete stack at reasonable cost. Come and see it in action at Pound Farm, North Tuddenham, Dereham in conjunction with Ernest Doe Power, Thursday 23rd of June 10 am to 4 pm any shape or size of bales considered , refreshments provided for further information speak to Simon Dann 07770594545 Kevin Chubbock 07974 202260 Ernest Doe Power Mogel 07557223766 Pomi uk

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Eastern Daily Press, Saturday, June 18, 2011

F.S.Dann and Son Ltd Farmers and Wrapping Contractors

COCKTAIL EVENING: Supporters of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution will be at the summer cocktail evening at the Norfolk Showground on Monday from 6pm. Tickets cost £15, from Sally Mitchell, of Hall Farm, Repps cum Bastwick (01692 670521) or from NFU group secretaries. SHOOT-OUT: Spectators are welcome at the annual clay pigeon shoot at Bawdeswell which involves teams from Stalham Farmers’ Club and Holt & District Farmers’ Club on Thursday. It starts at 5.30pm taking place at the Churchills of Dereham’s shooting ground off the B1147, nearest postcode NR20 4RH. A supper at the Wensum Valley Golf Club will follow. The match is being arranged by Robert Stimpson. Details: 07798 786158.

Walk on the Arable farmer turned conservation enthusiast Chris Skinner has transformed 500 acres of a south Norfolk arable holding over the past quarter of a century. And over the winter, his huge blocks of wildbird cover attracted record flocks of an estimated 24,500 linnets and yellowhammers – almost qualifying for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Mr Skinner and his son, Daniel, who has joined him at High Ash Farm at Caistor St Edmund, near Norwich, welcomed about 50 visitors from Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. The farm with 80 acres of woodland, was runner-up in the 2010 Ian MacNicol Trophy. He entered the higher level scheme in February 2006 and now more than half the area of the rolling and light-land farm is managed under stewardship options. Halfway around the walking tour with FWAG advisers Henry Walker and Richard MacMullen, Mr Skinner even heard his first cuckoo of the season, much to his evident surprise. He thanked his advisers for putting together a “stunning scheme.” The scale of habitat creation, with blocks of native woodland, and management of the farm’s extensive network of hedges and green lanes was hugely impressive. The decision to “farm wildlife” and encourage visitors had been hugely rewarding and he estimated that the holding was worth at least £1m more than it was as an intensive enterprise growing cereals and sugar beet. “I try to put the wildlife first on the farm and at the same time respect the historic element of the farm.”

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By MICHAEL POLLITT Agricultural editor Mr Skinner, who has five miles of permissive access on the farm, was “custodian” of two important heritage sites. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was internationally important, and adjacent to the Roman town, once the Roman capital of eastern Britain, were remains of a Romano-Celtic temple. Mr Skinner, who has twice won Sony Radio awards for his recordings of wildlife, is a well-known broadcaster and also photographer. He had even placed special sparrow nest boxes on a farm building and all 42 were occupied. And as the visitors crossed the farmyard, one could see that he had let water spill so that birds could pick up mud for nestbuilding – useful no doubt for the 10 pairs of swallows in a 40ft long farm building. He told visitors that hedges around the farm paddocks, which are not in the scheme, are cut annually to offer greater protection from predators and give house sparrows a bolthole. Last year, he managed to attract two turtle doves, which have become increasingly rare. He decided 25 years ago to leave a stretch of hedge on one of the farm’s many green lanes to grow unchecked and his persistence paid off as turtle doves have nested again this year. “We’ve also got nesting lapwing on another arable option on fallow plots. We have two five hectare fallow plots which are fantastic for nesting lapwing and particularly for hares.” His cropping strategy was based on


Eastern Daily Press, Saturday, June 18, 2011

YANA website: www.yanahelp.org

wild side... arable crops, low input spring barley, and spring barley and triticale. But his decision to drill large blocks of wildbird cover of up to 40 acres has produced astounding results, especially with linnets in the winter. “We think there were more linnets there during the entire area of East Anglia. We think that quite a number were joined by continental visitors as well as red polls, lesser red polls and Icelandic Red polls.” He has worked with independent seed merchant, Parker Seeds, of Little Plumstead, to develop Chris Skinner’s Bird Magnet Mix, which has evolved over the past 10 to 12 years. “Actually I started growing special variety of seed for birds before I went into the HLS,” he said. Typically the mix contains seeds including phacelia and the excellent fodder radish, with low rates of spring wheat, barley and triticale, designed not to shed their seed through the winter. “And in January, it is possible to rub the spring wheat out and the grain is still pretty well perfect,” said Mr Skinner. He has planted 27,800 hedging plants to sub-divide a 22-hectare arable field into four. There had been almost a 100pc take since it was planted in January 2007 – just two months after formally entering HLS. His spring-sowing cereal strategy for the wildbird mix, usually from mid April, aimed to bridge the “hungry gap” when many species struggle to find food after supplies of berries and seeds have become exhausted. The blocks are chopped at the end of March next year, then disced and conventionally drilled with the

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very small seeds broadcast on the top. “This year, I’ve broadcast the entire amount of seed – about 25kg of each of the cereals every acre,” he said. Plants like fodder radish, and mustard, form paper-like pods, which are undamaged by the winter weather and contain viable seed: “Even in a very harsh winter the fodder radish really does hold up and is a very good seed source.” And once established, the blocks attract swifts to feed on pollen beetles. “Soon we’ll have 400 or 500 swifts over each of these areas – they’ll come out from Norwich and will be swarming over these plots,” he said. “I rotate the wildbird cover around the farm and generally try to site it near areas of hedges. Surprisingly, the linnets prefer the big wide open spaces.” “People can stop in their cars and watch the birds; they absolutely love it. It is linking what we do on the farm and inviting the public really works”. He has owls, including 10 pairs of nesting little owls, a pair of barn owls and two pairs of tawny owls. With a magnificent view across to Norwich and looking towards City Hall, the highest point on the farm is 87 metres. Mr Skinner is proud to have the opportunity to care for such an important part of the country’s landscape, which looks over the site of the Roman Town and the lower Tas Valley. Mr Skinner also expects about 1,000 visitors to enjoy the four-mile “bee walk” on the farm by the end of the month.

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FARMING 47

Research project looked at hedge management

All 12 senior clubs in gardening spectacular

Hedge establishment can be a tricky decision, said FWAG adviser Richard MacMullen. He said that a long-term research project at Long Ashton had looked at hedge management and different cutting frequencies. “They used a bag vacuum with a lawn mower engine to suck through hedges to work out the invertebrate interest,” he said. And hedges at Morley had been involved in the research. “There were two really interesting findings. For some reason at Morley, the number of invertebrates at ground level was significantly down even in a 15year-old hedge,” he said. But it is planted with a polythene mulch mat to keep down the weeds. “And this had a longlasting impact on the presence of invertebrates at ground level,” said Mr MacMullen. “The reality is that if hedges are cut in September, it is before the invertebrates have moved off the from the fields to over-wintering habitat,” he said. N A visit to the winner of the Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group’s Ian MacNicol Memorial Trophy, will take place on July 6, at 6pm, by permission of Lord Peter Melchett at Courtyard Farm, Ringstead, PE36 5LQ. To book a place contact FWAG on 01603 814869 or norfolk@fwag.org.

Young farmers will be presenting a gardening spectacular in the grand ring of the Royal Norfolk Show. Members have been invited to return to centre stage with a bang, and all 12 senior clubs will be taking part. Te a m s representing A c l e, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Harleston, Loddon, North Elmham, North Wa l s h a m , Re e p h a m , Terrington, Wattleborough, and Wymondham, will be putting items to use including a wheelbarrow, a ride-on lawnmower and a selection of obstacles. Members have been working hard in preparation for our grand ring spectacular since October, when we formed a show committee and got to work putting ideas together to make it the best display the show has ever seen. Each club has two members taking part in the display, who have been practising their routines to perfection. An initial run took place at the recent Easton College open day. Rober t Copeland and Helen Childerhouse will be commentating on the event, so let’s just hope that the young farmers don’t let any grass grow under their feet. The Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers’ Club will be on

MICE TO SEE YOU: Close by a block of woodland, a population of harvest mice have become well established. When a newly planted wood had been planted, they all disappeared, explained Mr Skinner. “We had quite a population of harvest mice. I started monitoring numbers when the new wood was planted – and we couldn’t find any at all,” he said. “Then one July day, when I was walking past, I saw that the harvest mice had taken to building nests inside the tree tubes.” N The bee walk, which takes about an hour and a half, starts from the car park of the Roman Town, with signs about every 200 metres. There are also five miles of permissive paths on the arable farm.

By EMILY ROUT Norfolk young farmers stand 378, where we will be advertising our charity efforts for the year. To watch the grand ring spectacular, it will start at 12.45pm on Wednesday, June 29 and 1.50pm on Thursday, June 30. The competitions and training committee discussed the hockey league among other issues. The retiring chairman, Bernard Wright, was thanked. It was agreed that hockey will be played in fewer, longer games over the winter, with the top four clubs competing in play-offs in the spring. Harleston YFC hold a “party in the paddock” tonight at the Tibenham Greyhound from 6.30pm until 1am. Entertainment from Hilites disco, local live band Thechaps will be appearing. Bar, barbecue and camping available. Entry £5 members, £7 nonmembers. Details, Boris on 07919 282324. Tomorrow, on Father’s Day, the annual charity clayshoot will be held at Weybread (opposite Waveney House), starting at noon. There are cash and trophies in the 40-bird shoot and proceeds will benefit Macmillan Cancer Care. Usual rules apply. Details Jimmy Meek on 07833 680735.

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01603 629 871 anne.barker@brown-co.com

NEAR NORWICH, HORSFORD Productive arable land with strategic long term development potential. A block of productive arable land on the outskirts of Norwich, adjoining the route of the proposed Norwich Northern Distributor road. 49.62 hectares (122.61 acres) in total AVAILABLE BY PRIVATE TREATY AS A WHOLE

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EDP 18th June 2011  

It is going to be in short supply,Use it all don’t let any get wet.WRAP it keep it dry. 46 FARMING atPound Farm, North Tuddenham, Dereham in...

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