Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Balgonie: an Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE project

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As part of my role as a Kings advisor, one of the great things I am involved with is the Balgonie grey partridge project in Fife. Balgonie features as one of 10 Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE projects and, as with the work we also support at Loddington, it serves as a demonstration site and involves us working closely with the Game and Wildlif...
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Farmer Cluster Conference 2018

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Farmer Cluster Conference. Held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute on 1 st November, the event was hosted by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), with support from Natural England. This year's event was the second of its kind and served as a way to bring together those who have organis...
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Supplementary feeding farmland birds

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The widespread decline of some of our most prominent farmland birds such as grey partridge, yellowhammer, tree sparrow and linnet is well known. A leading contributor to their plight is the so called 'hungry gap'; a period from December to April where there is a shortage of food in the wider countryside for farmland birds due to the natural depleti...
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Integrating new policy into the modern farming business

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This blog was first featured as an article in the November issue of Three Counties Farmer : The sun has continued to shine. As I write, the weather forecast shows a considerable rain event over the coming weekend preceding another settled spell. Autumn drilling and harvest continues but, with my growers at least, there isn't an air of com...
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Post-maize opportunities

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Over the last five-to-six years, it's been clear to see an ever-increasing area of maize being grown across the UK. Maize has a number of production uses but the most notable are bio-gas and forage. With so many now taking on the crop and due to the nature of which it is grown, it's important to consider careful management while it's in the ground ...
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Catch crops: don’t get caught out

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Catch crops, sown in the summer, can be used very effectively as part of an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) greening requirement. These crops offer potential benefits to soil and rotation management beyond the financial rewards of EFA. However, it's important to comply with EFA criteria around management dates. Catch crops that were established by the ...
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It’s win-win if we work together

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​ This blog was first featured as an article in the September issue of Three Counties Farmer What a difference a day makes. It's a lovely song by Dinah Washington, originally written in Spanish by Maria Grever. It's been covered by many artists over the years and no doubt murdered on the X Factor in more recent times. Having been lucky enough to tr...
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Potatoes in Practice

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Kings attended Potatoes in Practice this month, the UK's largest field-based potato event. Held at The James Hutton Institute's Balruddery Farm in Dundee, our team were delighted to be attending for a third year. The event comprised demonstrations of both varieties and machinery, highlighted innovative research and was a great platform for industry...
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What would Dragons' Den make of agriculture?

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This blog was first featured as an article in the August issue of Three Counties Farmer Since beginning these monthly columns back in March, I think we've experienced almost every weather condition Mother Nature could throw at us. At times I've written this while watching the snow settle ever deeper and the winds get bitterly cold. I've witnessed w...
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Are you thinking about companion crops?

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​ Well, harvest is flying! Crops are in the barn much earlier than usual which gives us more time to think about how best to tackle oilseed rape establishment. However, that's not all there is to start planning. Some growers are using this extra time to contemplate companion crops and how they can help bring benefits to their farm.  Companion ...
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Countryside Stewardship - is it for you?

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As I sit here writing this blog in my office, from the corner of my eye I can see a fairly substantial pile of paperwork relating to the ten-or-so Countryside Stewardship applications I am putting together on behalf of customers. Thankfully, Natural England has extended the deadline for submitting completed applications to 31 st August, so I can br...
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Be inspired for fresh start in post-harvest

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This blog was first featured as an article in the July issue of Three Counties Farmer Once again, I write this during yet another change in the weather. The cold, wet spring has now given way to some very warm days, some intermittent and heavy downpours and a late growing season which has delivered some amazing growth to both spring and winter sown...
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Best practice for warm weather and high temperatures

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With the hot and dry weather set to continue, Kings sales manager, Richard Barnes, discusses the impact for game cover and wild bird seed crops across the UK and how to manage them for best results.   Having been an advisor with Kings for 15 years, how does this year's weather compare to that of previous years? Every year has its own challenge...
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Take care of your farm’s biggest asset

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This article was first published in the June edition of 3 Counties Farmer I've been told on many occasions the best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago and the next best time is... tomorrow! Thinking further than a day ahead can seem quite difficult when you are in the thick of a busy growing season, hampered by cold and wet conditions while atte...
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When is best to drill your game and stewardship crops?

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With the sun shining and spring positively blooming just now, many growers will be overcome with the itch to start drilling. However, it's worth asking yourself - is now really a good time to drill your game cover, wild bird seed, nectar flower and other stewardship features? Good things come to those who wait In most instances (especially for kale...
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Will cover crops benefit farmers north of the border?

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With the environmental and agronomic benefits they bring, it is not surprising that cover crops have become increasingly popular throughout the UK. However in Scotland, thanks to cooler climates and the later harvest of cereal crops, the use of over-winter cover crops poses a particular challenge. For example In Tayside, spring barley will typicall...
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Thoughts from the field

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Over the last two weeks, my travels have taken me as far as the Scottish Borders right down to glorious Exmoor. Along the way I've been stopping off to visit customers and present to growers, both of which have offered me a fascinating insight into where the farming, greening and sporting worlds are currently at. To better explain, I thought it wou...
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Crucial considerations for successful spring crop establishment following cover crops

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By now, most farmers have destroyed their cover crops and are waiting for the 'ideal' time to drill their spring crops. On heavy land however, that 'ideal' might never come and it's often a test of nerves to see when the land will be fit enough to stand the pressures of heavy machinery. While we seem to be experiencing further adverse weather condi...
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Working Catchment Sensitive Farming and farmland wildlife options within Mid Tier

Working Catchment Sensitive Farming and farmland wildlife options within Mid Tier
Following Michael Gove's recent speech at the Oxford Farming Conference in which he began to outline the future direction of agricultural policy in England, it is becoming increasingly clear that soil health, water quality and biodiversity are very high up on the agenda. These issues could be addressed with the 'stick' of regulation or with the 'ca...
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The Big Farmland Bird Count

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With winter in full swing and farmland birds seeking out all of the opportunities on farm to feed themselves, now is the time to see how they are faring on your own farm. Each year, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) host the Big Farmland Bird Count. Farmers and land managers undertake a lot of work to help protect and nurture the wild...
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