ECOLOGICAL aspirations can be extremely challenging for dairy farmers but increasing the songbird population alongside profitable farming is achievable, according to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Wales.

Hosting a seminar on soils and biodiversity at Ty Newydd farm near Trefnant, St Asaph, on May 9th, Antony Griffith has always been passionate about creating wildlife habitats alongside his dairy operation. 

“Simplicity is key if we want greater participation by Welsh farmers in future schemes, but it needs to be much less daunting than what the Welsh agri-environment scheme has offered,” said Ant.

Alastair Leake, who heads up the 800-acre GWCT Allerton Project demonstration farm in Loddington, Leicestershire, insists that farmers can deliver solutions in addressing biodiversity declines by allowing them to decide what they would like to see on their own farms.

“A very different approach from the past, but it really should be left to each farm to say what they would like to see and what makes the best sense on their holding.

“Over the past 26 years, we have learned a great deal about habitats, winter feeding and predator control. We have demonstrated that by using this approach we can maintain farm profitability and double the songbird population too, which adds weight to the debate that farming, and conservation can go hand-in-hand if done correctly.

skylark

Research has shown that providing over winter habitats leads to more breeding birds and each farm needs to decide where best to deploy these winter crops.

Scottish lowland research ecologist Dave Parish concluded the talk by stressing the need for supplementary feeding through the hungry gap that works very well without making it complicated.

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