There are lessons to be learned from centuries-old farming methods and, at Farnley Estates, we're returning to more traditional, pastoral based farming. It's a flexible approach that allows us to respond quickly should demand change.
We have two main objectives for our land, namely to maximise high yield crops on good land, while utilising land that is heavier and of poorer quality for conservation purposes.
Cultivating high yield crops
For the first 1 to 2 years, cereal is planted, which involves a high input but achieves a high output. The land is then planted with high production grass and clover for forage, for a further two years. This naturally adds phospherous and potassium into the land.
During the next five years a grass ley is planted with a high clover and vetches content, which fixes nitrogen in the soil. Cereals can then be planted in the rich soil, with the need for minimal use of herbicides and fertilisers.
Conservation work with pollen and nectar mix
Research has shown that a purpose-sown crop will attract significantly more bumblebees than a crop or land left unmanaged. By introducing a pollen and nectar crop, makes good use of poorer quality land and attracts insects that will pollenate crops throughout the Estate.
At the Estate we're also actively cultivating crops that provide good ground cover to attract and protect ground-nesting birds.
Download our 'pollen and bird handout' leaflet.
Farming update - Autumn 2016
Estate Manager, Pru Sykes, gives her round-up of the Estate’s farming activity.
The wet summer has made it a challenging season for farmers, but we’ve now harvested the crops along Honley Road for animal feed, and the land has returned to a grass ley.
You’ll notice a mix of livestock on Farnley Estates, with sheep and cattle belonging to our tenant farmers grazing the land.
Our woodland management is ongoing, with Tilhill, the specialist forestry management organisation, taking care of the day to day work.
As part of our Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England, we’re responsible for providing areas that encourage wildlife and insects. One of the ways in which we do this is by planting strips of land at the edge of our fields with pollen rich plant species that attract bees and provide habitats and protection for small animals and ground-nesting birds.
It’s important for the wildlife that these areas are left undisturbed. That’s why we kindly ask anyone walking on our land to stick to footpaths and keep dogs under close control.
We can all do our bit to help avoid the spread of diseases and non-native invasive plants, by cleaning boots, vehicles and brushing pets before and after coming onto our land. To find out more about how you can be more countryside-friendly visit www.farnleyestates.co.uk/about-us/biosecurity-policy