Managing permanent pasture for production, payments, and pollinators.
The first event of the Braydon Forest Farmers attracted an enthusiastic group of farmers to consider grassland management for production, biodiversity and profit. We visited the Lower Moor Farm in Oaksey and walked through beautiful wildflower meadows that are designated SSIs. The farmer Jonathan Clarke described his new approach to grazing and to cutting, in line with biodiversity priorities that were explained by the reserves manager, Nick Self. Many farmers enjoyed the beautiful fields and left thinking about how they might include some of the ideas on their farms. We also heard from Janie Dear about her grassfed beef business at Luckington Farm. Janie has pioneered grassfed production locally and explained how mob grazing works and some of the fencing and management skills needed to achieve it. A lot of practical knowledge was shared between participants and the session ended with a BBQ where we could try Luckington Farm produce.
The next event will be on Hedgerow Maintenance on Thursday 1 September. We are fortunate that Nigel Adams will be giving a talk. Nigel is Vice Chairman of the National Hedgelaying Society and a member of Hedgelink the steering group for national hedgerow policy. He is currently involved in a five year research project looking at different aspects of hedgerow management. The day will start here at Sundey Hill Farm with a presentation on maintenance techniques including regional hedge-laying traditions and their modern relevance and will then go out on farm to consider the best options for Braydon Forest Farmers. The next step is to gain recognition for the incredible hedgerow network that characterizes the Braydon Forest area and connects farms across 11,000 hectares.