Thursday, 18 October 2012

Visitors Centre shortlisted for 'Sustainable Development' Award

The new visitors centre at Loddington has been shortlisted in the Sustainable Development category at the  Leicestershire Property and Construction Awards. Its environmental features include
  • rainwater harvesting
  • sheep wool (therma fleece) roof insulation 
  • solar panels
  • wood chip boiler
  • straw bales wall insulation
  • grasscrete carpark
  • recycled plastic fencing
Read more about the enrty here

The winner will be announced at the ProCon annual dinner on Thursday 15th November at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. ProCon is an organisation open to all those involved in the property and construction industries in the Leicestershire area.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cover Crop Update

The catchy weather is proving challenging for the farm crops but the cover crops seem to be thriving. Below are a few photographs showing how they are progressing. Richard Barnes from Kings and Loddington keeper James Watchorn have overseen an interesting mixture of crops which have responded well to their management.
Maize alongside Chicory and Phacelia


Millet next to 2nd year Kale

Mustard, Kale and Fodder Raddish

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The slug skirmish! Combining cultural and chemical approaches

 This season continues to be a challenging one and here is our approach in the battle against slugs. Rolling consolidates the ground and gives the slugs less room to move around, this slows down slug damage to our sown wheat seed. Rolling also helps seed/soil contact which assists germination and pushes large stones out of harms way.  Where possible we have drilled wheat seed slightly deeper than normal at 40mm. We have used metaldehyde for our first 'in field' application with ferric phosphate on the outside 6m. We are limited in the amount of metaldehyde we can use in the autumn and will switch to ferric phosphate as weather deteriorates.
before rolling......

after rolling!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Game cover and conservation crops coming on well

Despite the weather doing its very best to thwart the establishment of the game cover and conservation crops, the various plots around the farm are on the whole looking very good indeed. James Watchorn (our gamekeeper) has been working hard all through the summer (with technical support from Richard Barnes of Kings Game Cover and Conservation Crops) to ensure there is sufficient food and cover to support a host of game and farmland bird species through the coming winter.

Wild bird seed mixtures such as Moir Mix and Campaign Mix have replaced much of the maize area (some maize has been retained) providing a more diverse range of seed and cover as well as meeting our needs for the correct area of enhanced wild bird seed required by our HLS scheme. 
Areas of Kings kale blend have flourished with the recent warmer weather and the rainfall last week will keep the late sown catch crops growing through the autumn.

The plots were a useful backdrop for a GWCT Part Time Gamekeepers course held recently on the farm, which was attended by 14 enthusiastic game managers.

A selection of autumn sown nectar flower, wild bird seed and brood rearing crops are being planted this week to increase the range of habitats provided.