Kings Game Cover and Conservation Crops has donated 140kg of bespoke game cover seed to help support conservation work carried out by the Northern School of Game and Wildlife at Newton Rigg College near Penrith.
The seed will be used to completely renew all 14 acres of game and wildlife cover crops on land owned and run by the college as a fully operational driven partridge shoot. The shoot is used to help students who are studying game keeping gain practical experience.
The Northern School of Game and Wildlife was recently awarded a special prize and £1000 cash at the national Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation. The money was given in recognition of the quality of training provided by the College to game managers of the future. Colin Blanchard and Malcolm Riding, who lead the College's Land and Animal Management faculty decided to use this cash prize for a conservation project at Newton Rigg.
The purpose of the conservation project is partly to provide high quality driven game shooting. However, just as importantly it will deliver food and sheltering habitat for vast numbers of overwintering farmland birds and other wildlife. Colin and Malcolm want to show students and the wider agricultural community that high quality wildlife habitat can be provided in an economically viable way as part of normal farm operations.
Colin says, 'We had some ideas but the Purdey cash wouldn't cover the total cost. We had enough money to fund cultivation, spraying and sowing but not for the seed itself. Kings kindly stepped in and not only offered to provide expert advice on what to plant, they also kindly created and supplied a bespoke seed mix, tailored exactly to meet our needs. We are very grateful to them.
'The assistance we have had both from Kings and the Purdey Awards was even more significant to us because Stewardship funding we have received in previous years for many of these plots has recently run out.'
Meehal Grint, Northern Technical Advisor for Kings says, 'At Kings we're keen to raise awareness of what can be achieved through conservation projects like this. We're delighted to help Colin and the team at the College by donating this seed. As well as supplying seed, we provide advice to customers on what to plant, addressing any particular challenges that are specific to their location. Once established I am sure we will have a great display of cover crops, brimming with game and ready for a good season ahead.'
The seed mix being supplied by Kings will be planted during May and includes Coleor kale, Kings kale rape, mustard, fodder radish, and Vittasso brown mustard, plus Gold of Pleasure, buckwheat
sunflowers, and some Stand & Deliver (chicory). This mix will provide good game cover and food sources and will provide sufficient cover for July when the first partridges are released.
For further details about Kings see www.kingscrops.co.uk or call 0800 587 9797. For more information about the courses at Newton Rigg telephone Malcolm Riding on 01768 893613 or visit www.gamekeeping.org.uk.