Healthy Local Ecosystems Across the JSR Farming Group
Along with focussing on being a highly productive and efficient farm, we continually strive to do our part in securing a healthy local eco system. This series will be online allowing JSR Genetics and invited participants to engage with knowledgeable people around the world together with their genetics partners Topigs Norsvin.rk. Mark Richardson is our Environmental Specialist and heads up most of the work undertaken here at JSR.
Road-side verges are often mown for aesthetic purposes; however, we have started to leave some to grow wild. The longer grass and flourishing wildflowers provide shelter for smaller invertebrates and encourages insects as well as some ground nesting birds.
As part of operation pollinator, we actively introduce wildflowers and varied species mixes, including phacelia and yellow rattle, along the boundaries of fields to attract bees to our crops and other surrounding flowers. In conjunction with introducing flower mixes to encourage bees, we have eight hive sites with Woldgate Honey Ltd across our farms which house over 250 million bees!
In December of 2020, Mark, with help from other members of the arable team, began renewing a 200m section of hedge row at Gomary Farm with 60% Hawthorn and other species such as Hazel, Wild Privet, Field Maple, Gelded Rose and Dog Rose.
At our main farm in Southburn near Driffield, we have a grassland rejuvenation scheme in place whereby green hay is spread across areas of pasture as well as stripped seeds from a local Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This process introduces a greater variety of wildflower and plant species, such as Devils Bit Scabious and Ragged Robin, a process known as floristic enhancement.
We have our own SSSI at Southburn in the form of a natural chalk stream, Eastburn Beck, it runs adjacent to our wildlife corridor. This has been seen to attract water voles, heron, trout and even green sandpipers. The corridor includes wild grassland, a wetland habitat, which adjoins Southburn and Eastburn beck and 28ha of coppice willow which is harvested every four years and sold to a company in Cumbria which use it to generate electricity for their factory.