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Farm land birds still bumping along at the bottom
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Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mistress Rose wrote:
Tavascarow, if farmers have to jump through the same hoops that woodland owners are now being expected to jump through, for something like £150 a hectare you are expected to produce reports, take pictures and all sort of other things, which in my case won't really be worth while.


Stewardship wasn't particularly bad for it but there was always the chance of being inspected at any time. The main problem was the inflexibility of the timings that made it difficult to farm effectively, especially when combined with the Ings grazing - it meant that you had loads of land available in summer and one field that was kept out of stewardship for the purpose in winter.

It paid for the materials cost of hedges, fences and water supply but I don't miss it for the area payments. The freedom to farm according to the conditions is worth the few quid you got IMO.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Tavascarow wrote:
Rob R wrote:
Tavascarow wrote:
Rob R wrote:
There's no evidence that the money spent isn't helping.
No there isn't, these species might be hurtling towards extinction even faster if the farmers weren't having extra cash.
That doesn't make it right.


No, it's not right, and until we stop telling people to cut down on certain food groups and start telling them to eat foods grown in a certain way it will remain the best compromise. Wildlife should pay and people should pay for it.
Here we go again.
Eat meat good eat greens bad!!
That doesn't hold water & you know it.


That isn't what I said at all. You are proponent of organic farming, which encourages biodiversity. I use grazing animals to have the same effect. If it builds biodiversity then you shouldn't have a problem it, plant or animal. Lets put our dietary differences aside and concentrate on what really matters - the birds.

If people value biodiversity then they will purchase accordingly but without them placing a value upon it it's left to farmers and the government/EU to value it.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

It can be done apparently.
Which does raise the question what have the establishment & farmers been doing with all that money & not getting any results?
Quote:
It brings together the changes in farmland birds on two farms: Loddington, 292ha of Leicestershire, managed by the GWCT since 1991 and Hope Farm, 181ha of Cambridgeshire managed by the RSPB since 1999.

Both farms have done spectacularly well in their bird numbers, compared with other farms covered by bird monitoring surveys in their regions. If all farms in the East Midlands performed like Loddington, and all farms in East Anglia like Hope Farm, then the farmland bird issues would, basically, be solved. At both farms the main tools have been use of existing agri-environment schemes. It’s really that simple.

At Loddington, over 20 years, the farmland bird numbers increased by about 50% in the absence of legal predator control of crows, foxes etc. Bird numbers increased more in early years when the unrealistic expense of a full-time gamekeeper was employed on this small farm, but a 50% increase in bird numbers, when all around are losing theirs, is a great achievement.

At Hope Farm, farmland bird numbers trebled in just 10 years. A fantastic achievement. All achieved without predator control.

And if we were to delve deeper into the figures, then Hope Farm does better on the increase in Farmland Bird Index, Farmland Specialist index, Biodiversity Action Plan index and the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List index. In other words, the RSPB farm is consistently better at increasing the numbers of endangered and decreasing farmland birds whereas the GWCT farm does best on non-threatened and non-declining species. Both are admirable, but one is more admirable than the other.
My bold.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Or to use the authors words because his are better.
Quote:
But the take-home message from this study is that the decline in farmland birds, which continues, is not inevitable – it is a choice. It is a choice made by the farming industry and government. Either could, at any time over the last couple of decades, or starting today, fix the decline in farmland birds very easily. We are pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into farmers’ pockets in environmental payments every year, and what we get for our money is continued decline in farmland wildlife. These two examples show that a bit of good habitat scattered around the food-producing areas of a productive farm, can bring the wildlife back. Why not?

Liz Truss – why not get on and do it?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Tavascarow wrote:
It can be done apparently.
Which does raise the question what have the establishment & farmers been doing with all that money & not getting any results?


As I said earlier, it is not really working. The schemes are typically bureaucratic, all about qualifiying for eligibility criteria rather than results. Also, as I also said, I think you're better off without the restrictions if you want to farm and care for the environment in the best way possible.

The schemes have certainly helped put a lot of hedgerows in here & elsewhere. My first job was on a 500 acre arable farm which I pass every day on the way to the cows. They'd planted the hedges before I started, but we did do a lot of maintenance, the cost of which wasn't covered by the grants so I appreciate that there is a need for the farmers to be on board too.

My own view is that the schemes should be based on results, not eligibility criteria. It's a constant frustration for me that environmental grants, for example, are given to polluters to get them to stop rather than funding folk who aren't polluting in the first place. However, as Loddington & Hope both show though, the funding is helpful where the farmers are on board.

Extra funding available from charitable donations must help hugely too. Prices have been generally depressed across all sectors throughout my entire career and that encourages mis-use of funding or, at the very least, poor utilisation of funding as paying the bank back is a higher priority if you want to continue farming, especially in situations where you get no more money for good results.

It's nice to see, or rather not-see the farm as I pass the farm where I used to work, as the hedges are now mature. Likewise, we had two big fields here when we started and they are now divided back into the original four with the new hedges now blending in with the size of the established ones. I like to think that our customers appreciate the wildlife we have here but there is huge potential to do even better the more productive the farm becomes.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4340
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

It does`nt say,but presume these are both arable farms,surrounded by similar farms.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Ty Gwyn wrote:
It does`nt say,but presume these are both arable farms,surrounded by similar farms.


Yes, they're both very much arable farms.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 15 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mark Avery and the RSPB are saying different things, though;

Farmland birds increase but two key species decline

RSPB wrote:
The fundamental design of the scheme is sound, but DEFRA needs to learn the lessons from this year and improve [its] implementation, including enhancing [the] focus on biodiversity, fixing their broken IT system and ensuring Natural England has the resources to make the scheme a success


Mark Avery wrote:
Defra is not doing its job properly.


The DEFRA report does, at least, seem to agree with me though;

Quote:
The historical declines in breeding waders, such as those featured in the water and wetland indicator, resulted from land management changes such as drainage, the
intensification of grassland management and the conversion of coastal and floodplain grazing marshes to arable land.


But I won't bore you with my thoughts on drainage, as it's getting a little off topic.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mark Avery is an individual beholden to no one.
The RSPB are a very large charity ,very dependant on government (defra) cooperation & funding for their projects. We have a government who like to slash funding (& cooperation) to anyone who disagrees with them.
They have to be more diplomatic in their statements for their own good.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 12046

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Unfortunately these very schemes that you say farmers are not keeping to are part of the problem Tavascarow, as Rob says. Take hedge cutting. There is a ban on hedge cutting between I think it is now April and October, so it all has to be done between November and March. This means that the fruits and nuts the birds would normally feed on are destroyed at the very time in this area, when the birds most need them. The reason for the long period of prohibition is nesting, but feeding is as important, and surely it would be better if the farmer was allowed to asses the best time for trimming that is best for his area, farm and hedge.

Some of the problem is not even within the UK. Migrant birds are affected by things sometimes 1000s of miles away.

Not doing some things can be as bad as doing them at the wrong time of year or too much. Woodland birds are also declining, because woodland flowers and insects are. This is mainly due to lack of management which makes the woods too dark to support flowers, which support the insects and so the food chain goes on.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mistress Rose wrote:
Unfortunately these very schemes that you say farmers are not keeping to are part of the problem Tavascarow, as Rob says. Take hedge cutting. There is a ban on hedge cutting between I think it is now April and October, so it all has to be done between November and March. This means that the fruits and nuts the birds would normally feed on are destroyed at the very time in this area, when the birds most need them. The reason for the long period of prohibition is nesting, but feeding is as important, and surely it would be better if the farmer was allowed to asses the best time for trimming that is best for his area, farm and hedge.

Some of the problem is not even within the UK. Migrant birds are affected by things sometimes 1000s of miles away.

Not doing some things can be as bad as doing them at the wrong time of year or too much. Woodland birds are also declining, because woodland flowers and insects are. This is mainly due to lack of management which makes the woods too dark to support flowers, which support the insects and so the food chain goes on.
Hedge cutting isn't necessary most of the time & does more damage thsn good in most instances (flailing obviously). My two nearest neighbours flail their hedges every year. Why? one in three is ample.
A recent article I read said farmers would be better off just light trimming the sides of hedges once in three years & then harvesting for firewood every eight to ten. Thus encouraging new growth from the base (something flailing rarely does).
It didn't say how to keep the hedge stock proof after coppicing unfortunately but as most flailed hedges aren't stock proof anyway I suppose temporary fencing isn't that big a deal.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Why isn't the UK standing up for EU Nature Laws?.
Quote:
Last week, nine European countries called on the EU to protect two key pieces of nature legislation: the Birds and Habitats Directives.

A coalition of European Parliament members (MEPs) followed up with another letter, taking the same strong position. The UK stayed silent.
Established in 1979 and 1992 respectively, the Birds and Habitats Directives form the basis of European wildlife law. The Habitats Directive alone protects over 1,000 animal and plant species and 200 habitats.
Probably because they can't exploit it if it's protected. (IMHO).

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Tavascarow wrote:
Mark Avery is an individual beholden to no one.
The RSPB are a very large charity ,very dependant on government (defra) cooperation & funding for their projects. We have a government who like to slash funding (& cooperation) to anyone who disagrees with them.
They have to be more diplomatic in their statements for their own good.


So am I, that doesn't make either of us automatically right.

I'm more inclined to believe someone who has participated in the process though and comes back with constructive criticism than one who doesn't.

Any bureaucratic system that relies upon eligibility criteria instead of paying for results is bound to under perform, though. Essentially you're getting paid by just complying to a set of arbitary rules , it doesn't provide farmers with the flexibility to innovate, or if it does, it doesn't reward them for doing so, so there is no incentive to be innovative nor perform well.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Rob R wrote:
Tavascarow wrote:
Mark Avery is an individual beholden to no one.
The RSPB are a very large charity ,very dependant on government (defra) cooperation & funding for their projects. We have a government who like to slash funding (& cooperation) to anyone who disagrees with them.
They have to be more diplomatic in their statements for their own good.


So am I, that doesn't make either of us automatically right.

I'm more inclined to believe someone who has participated in the process though and comes back with constructive criticism than one who doesn't.

Any bureaucratic system that relies upon eligibility criteria instead of paying for results is bound to under perform, though. Essentially you're getting paid by just complying to a set of arbitary rules , it doesn't provide farmers with the flexibility to innovate, or if it does, it doesn't reward them for doing so, so there is no incentive to be innovative nor perform well.
The very reason the communist system failed. People got paid for not doing the job. I'm not attacking farmers but the system for not overseeing it properly.
But for that to happen you have to have an administration who is actually commited to the principle of improving & protecting biodiversity.
This one isn't as my last post proves.
People like yourself & Ty might have had a few quid here & there but there are landowners who have been paid very large sums of money to protect sensitive habitat & endangered species & the money has been wasted.
Some less charitable might say pocketed.
Edited to say people got paid whether they did the job or not. Some people are committed regardless.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 15 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Tavascarow wrote:
Rob R wrote:
Tavascarow wrote:
Mark Avery is an individual beholden to no one.
The RSPB are a very large charity ,very dependant on government (defra) cooperation & funding for their projects. We have a government who like to slash funding (& cooperation) to anyone who disagrees with them.
They have to be more diplomatic in their statements for their own good.


So am I, that doesn't make either of us automatically right.

I'm more inclined to believe someone who has participated in the process though and comes back with constructive criticism than one who doesn't.

Any bureaucratic system that relies upon eligibility criteria instead of paying for results is bound to under perform, though. Essentially you're getting paid by just complying to a set of arbitary rules , it doesn't provide farmers with the flexibility to innovate, or if it does, it doesn't reward them for doing so, so there is no incentive to be innovative nor perform well.
The very reason the communist system failed. People got paid for not doing the job. I'm not attacking farmers but the system for not overseeing it properly.
But for that to happen you have to have an administration who is actually commited to the principle of improving & protecting biodiversity.
This one isn't as my last post proves.
People like yourself & Ty might have had a few quid here & there but there are landowners who have been paid very large sums of money to protect sensitive habitat & endangered species & the money has been wasted.
Some less charitable might say pocketed.
Edited to say people got paid whether they did the job or not. Some people are committed regardless.


Yep, exactly.

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