Birds love stubble!

If you see fields of stubble this autumn, it isn’t because the farmer has forgotten to plough the fields following the harvest. At least that’s not the case on Farnley Estates’ land.

As a member of Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme, the Estate is committed to conservation and providing habitats that encourage wildlife. Leaving the stubble from the spring barley and winter wheat in the fields off Honley Road, provides a feast for birds and small mammels.

“During threshing, which is part of the harvesting process, some grain will drop out. By leaving the stubble in place, rather than immediately ploughing the field, gives chaffinches, tree sparrows, blue tits and yellow tits, plus other birds and animals the opportunity to feed on this grain,” said Paul Elgar, Estate Manager.

The Estate also cultivates crops, such as white mustard with kale, which encourage bees, insects and provide cover for ground nesting birds. During the summer months, the flowers provide nectar to attract bees and other insects, and in winter the crops provide seeds for non-migrating birds.

“As well as actively cultivating nectar-rich crops, we also leave nettles and thistles in difficult to work areas, such as field corners and bankings, as these attract different butterfly species and provide cover for field mice and voles. In turn, these animals attract natural predators such as barn owls, tawny owls and kestrels to the area,” added Paul.

You can read more about the conservation work taking place at Farnley Estates online at http://www.farnleyestates.co.uk/higher-lever-stewardship