16/06/2011 - JSR Open Day: nature and nurture in balance
Farmers and members of the conservation and wildlife community turned out in force on 8th June at an Open Day entitled 'Keeping the environmental balance' hosted by JSR Farms at their Southburn Farm headquarters at Driffield.
Arranged in conjunction with Campaign for the Farmed Environment and led on-farm by Philip Huxtable, JSR's Arable Technical Director, the day with JSR showed that environmental stewardship can successfully complement strong commercial farming enterprises.
Tour destinations - and topics for debate - focused on entry level stewardship with explanations of how a choice of key in-field options within ELS can help to achieve CFE's targets. Experts, and CFE partners, on hand offering advice on best practice included Marek Nowakowski of the Wildlife Farming Company, Jon Traill of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Chris Tomson, Agricultural Advisor for the RSPB and Sue Ogilvy, Lead Adviser from Natural England as well as JSR's own environment specialist Mark Richardson.
Jim Richards and Claire Flanagan, both local Environment Agency Officers, gave topical advice on resource protection, water quality issues and the safe and effective use of organic manures in relation to compliance with NVZ regulations.
'We're delighted with how well the event was attended by farmers, agronomists and advisors,” said Philip Huxtable. “As a conscientious arable enterprise, keeping the balance between profitable farming and caring for the environment is a subject very important to us at JSR. Across our farming business, we have incorporated 380 hectares into a wide range of agri-environment measures - that's in excess of 10% of the total farmed area.”
Southburn Farm itself now has nearly 20 hectares in ELS in-field options, in addition to a Countryside Stewardship agreement commenced in 2002. Stops on the tour included conservation areas planted with wild bird seed mix and nectar flower mix, also various field corner management options, together with grass buffer strips next to watercourses. These have been implemented with considerable success across all the JSR holdings.
In the last 10 to 15 years, biodiversity has increased dramatically at Southburn as we have created wildlife habitat” explains Philip.” “Barn own and water vole numbers have risen and there are now a number of new species in residence, including Oyster Catcher, Woodcock and Snipe. Regulars include Roe Deer, Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails. We are delighted to be able to achieve these results by farming using successful and sustainable methods.”
Alison Clayton the CFE Co-ordinator for East Yorkshire, concludes, “What we've seen here at the JSR Open Day really does epitomise the aims of the CFE; a range of options, correctly located and well managed to achieve the maximum environmental benefit, all running alongside efficient and sustainable food production.”