Conservation margin on Riverbank?

This seems the most appropriate area of TFF to ask the question....

I am looking at the new STW offering for STEPS and their biodiversity options. One or two look VERY appealing for my medium term aims for the farm, and will be a priority in the coming week.

However, one area the Adviser is keen to see is some form of agreement for our 9ac grassland area along a River and an IDB watercourse. Both blocks are already low input/low output grassland and receive little other than 60units of N and some Polo for the weeds! I am looking at their "Farmer Innovation" option and wondering if a 15-20m buffer strip might be of interest to them... However, I'd like to see a bit more interest than feggy grass, ragwort and pasture weeds that will inevitably appear (legacy of a long dead neighbour who appeared to enjoy seeing ragwort seeds blowing in the wind!

Any suggestions of what could be stitched into a 20+metre margin for interest, and to maybe give some cover for game (and other wildlife) and soak up any ag residues that exercise the water companies, thus helping water quality... A big win in the application!

Not trees!! :rolleyes: And yes, I would get some money, but not quite sure what...

The banks are fenced and I use a solar water pump for cattle on the grassland
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Not familiar with those programs so could be way off here.

Riparian areas can be quite large with their watersheds stretching up to the top of banks a fair distance away. Buffer zones are helpful and better than nothing but the farther out/more of the actual riparian area you can manage, the better for it. Riparian areas will respond just like other areas with grazing management. Use the livestock to help control the weeds and promote plants you want. You don’t necessarily have to use herbicides.


This is a local organization that promotes Riparian health and management. I’d definitely recommend it even though it’s based on Prairie ecosystems, it will still give you an idea of what you can potentially do. You could even try their riparian health assessment out and see what your pasture rates as.
 

Fruitbat

Member
Location
Worcestershire
Some useful stuff in here:
Agricology
and here:
SEPA

What's the ground like?
Flat enough to mow/top or too steep?
How low does it lie, regularly wet or only in the bigger floods?

An off the shelf pollinator mix and the same in game/bird would create 2 different linear habitats along the river. Think about connectivity/natural networks (good terms to get into any application!) to existing features e.g. hedges, spinneys, woodland.
What's over the other side of the river?
 
Not familiar with those programs so could be way off here.

Riparian areas can be quite large with their watersheds stretching up to the top of banks a fair distance away. Buffer zones are helpful and better than nothing but the farther out/more of the actual riparian area you can manage, the better for it. Riparian areas will respond just like other areas with grazing management. Use the livestock to help control the weeds and promote plants you want. You don’t necessarily have to use herbicides.


This is a local organization that promotes Riparian health and management. I’d definitely recommend it even though it’s based on Prairie ecosystems, it will still give you an idea of what you can potentially do. You could even try their riparian health assessment out and see what your pasture rates as.
I am doing what you describe in all but name, but not getting paid for it! ;)
 
Some useful stuff in here:
Agricology
and here:
SEPA

What's the ground like?
Flat enough to mow/top or too steep?
How low does it lie, regularly wet or only in the bigger floods?

An off the shelf pollinator mix and the same in game/bird would create 2 different linear habitats along the river. Think about connectivity/natural networks (good terms to get into any application!) to existing features e.g. hedges, spinneys, woodland.
What's over the other side of the river?
Sepa document is very intersting, thank you.

The land is flat, sandy, free draining, about 1.5-2.0 m above the River. Dry all year round (unless flooding!)

Flat for about 30m out from the river, then rises along the length of river in my ownership for about 250m. Pondered a wildflower/feed mix, but all require the land to be in arable!
 

Fruitbat

Member
Location
Worcestershire
I'd lean heavy on the nitrate & phosphate capturing potential of a riparian margin on grassland. Chuck in a mention of enhanced buffer strip / margin for any agchem application, or even cryptosporidium reduction from slurry / grazing and all bases are covered.
The fact you are intending to do something off piste is the innovation part.
It doesn't sound like you need to stabilise a steep bank, or hold on to it from regular high water so I'd go for tufty grass species which don't swamp out the flowers and under story as much. Go diverse on the species mix, tall & low, drought and wet tolerant, 'cos you've no idea how the rest of the year is going to go!
 
I'd lean heavy on the nitrate & phosphate capturing potential of a riparian margin on grassland. Chuck in a mention of enhanced buffer strip / margin for any agchem application, or even cryptosporidium reduction from slurry / grazing and all bases are covered.
The fact you are intending to do something off piste is the innovation part.
It doesn't sound like you need to stabilise a steep bank, or hold on to it from regular high water so I'd go for tufty grass species which don't swamp out the flowers and under story as much. Go diverse on the species mix, tall & low, drought and wet tolerant, 'cos you've no idea how the rest of the year is going to go!
Food for though, thank you.

I have some lower lying land that is adjacent that is on both sides of an IDB watercourse, just before it enters the same river. I was keen to pursue something here also, as they are 2 awkward 35-40m wide strips of land, a left over from when the drain was dug and they were left as flood meadows... sort of. Very high water table and as a result, with plenty of N, very productive igrazing n the summer... ;) Not really an option nowadays though!

I will spend a bit of time and see if I can dream up something... The slight issue is valuing the area for the purposes of a scheme! I will have a look at the existing Govt schemes as a guide I reckon.

All comnes down to if STW will fund it.
 

Fruitbat

Member
Location
Worcestershire
I hate to mention ELMS, but the theory is that you’d be recognised for existing features. Will wait and see on that, but you could go the whole way and put in wetland and a beaver colony.
 

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Innovation and tech in action at Cereals LIVE

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Innovation and tech in action at Cereals LIVE


There is nothing quite like seeing tech in action to understand how it works and how it can be beneficial on farm, which is why Cereals LIVE will be putting demos right at growers’ fingertips.

From state-of-the-art robotics, to autonomous tractors and electronic weeding, Cereals LIVE will have it all available in video demonstrations in the brand new Innovation and Tech Demo ring, says event director, Alli McEntyre. “It’s a brave new world for farming, with innovation driving sustainability and efficiency. Being able to see the most cutting-edge technology in action will give farmers an insight into where their businesses could be headed very soon.”

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