Wilding

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
I've just been reading Wilding by Isabella Tree, which is all about turning the 3500 acre Knepp estate over to nature, with the helping hand of a few free-range grazing animals.

TBH, I was expecting to find it all incredibly annoying, it appeared like an attention seeking opportunity for farmer bashing. However, they are farmers, who struggled to make their weald clay pay and they went into the job with eyes wide open and an awful lot of research into rewilding projects around the world. The transformation of the estate in ten years has been remarkable, not just the invasions of keynote species like nightingales, purple emperors and turtle doves, but population explosions of every sort of animal, fungus and plant, all richly interacting with each other, with an absolute minimum of help from humans.

One of the reasons that the project is so pleasing is the way information won here upsets so many of the idiotic 'single issue' options available under ELS/HLS, Countryside Stewardship etc. For instance they're finding that scrubby/shrubby landscapes are far more biodiverse and dynamic than closed canopy woodland, let alone bare pasture or arable land, yet whenever scrubland starts to form we are urged to get the flail/bulldozer out lest we lose some subsidy.

Whatever, I think every farmer would get something out of reading this book. It has opened my eyes to all sorts of things that I'd half-noticed on the farm here and given me lots of ideas for farming better and cheaper whilst making the world a better place. Quite surprising really. Have I got it all wrong?
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta
I’ve read a couple places that native prairie grassland can have more diversity than the rainforest. Which is mind boggling as the rainforest is the standard of “the most crap living on one square foot”. Makes one think how many other assumptions we’ve been spoonfed that aren’t fully true.

Have to add the book to my reading list. Thanks (y)
 
I’ve read a couple places that native prairie grassland can have more diversity than the rainforest. ''


A random square metre of prairie grassland will have more plants than a random square metre of rainforest.

But that's because trees are bigger than grassland plants.
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
Was a thread running on it following daily mail article last spring.
Mixture of responses.
https://thefarmingforum.co.uk/index.php?threads/rewilding-at-knepp-castle-daily-mail-article.224986/
Thanks, I missed that. Luckily.
I posted this under Holistic not only because the subject is deeply holistic, but also to avoid too much of the politics of envy stuff. It's interesting though to consider what benefits the taxpayer gets from the environmental subsidies that help pay for the enterprise. I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't cost neutral for all sorts of reasons that are hard to put a monetary value on, as well as those which are easily costed; like provision of clean water. But I think for the nations sanity, we need more wild places in our small, over-crowded island. And these wild places can teach us farmers a lot. As Dwayne Beck always says, you need to know what your land would be doing if you weren't farming it. Nature does a surprisingly good job, we can pick up a few tips.
 
I look forward to your report. I am impressed

Nearly everyone agreed that the CAP had not been a good thing. A lot of speakers chastising the govt for the lack of mention of food and food security. Suggestions that food production or food security ought to be a public good. Lots of complaining at the SNP for not including provision for Scottish ag in schedule 3 of the bill. Conservatives do seem quite enthusiastic about the potential of farming to contribute to bettering the environment. Interesting to contrast this with their lack of keenness to support climate change measures if not to do with farming. Stressed the need for less favoured areas to be given extra support -- "You can't go green in you're in the red" was mentioned more than once. Worries that there will be differences between England and the devolved parts of the UK -- i.e. Welsh livestock farmers with more support coming to sell livestock in English livestock markets and their being unfair competition. Concerns that the bill gives a lot of powers to SoS but does not place many duties upon him. Demands for more detail on the new scheme (response was roughly that this is an enabling bill and so should expect this level of detail at this stage). Several demands that if we are to have high standards that imports should also adhere to similar standards to prevent UK producers being undercut. Calls for greater production of UK food to replace imported food. Calls for better food labelling. Support for increased data collection if it would allow fairer bargaining with supermarkets. Worry that lump sum direct payment decoupled from active farming may not have desired effect of removing older farmers and allowing new entrants. And some more things...
 

awkward

Member
Location
kerry ireland
Nearly everyone agreed that the CAP had not been a good thing. A lot of speakers chastising the govt for the lack of mention of food and food security. Suggestions that food production or food security ought to be a public good. Lots of complaining at the SNP for not including provision for Scottish ag in schedule 3 of the bill. Conservatives do seem quite enthusiastic about the potential of farming to contribute to bettering the environment. Interesting to contrast this with their lack of keenness to support climate change measures if not to do with farming. Stressed the need for less favoured areas to be given extra support -- "You can't go green in you're in the red" was mentioned more than once. Worries that there will be differences between England and the devolved parts of the UK -- i.e. Welsh livestock farmers with more support coming to sell livestock in English livestock markets and their being unfair competition. Concerns that the bill gives a lot of powers to SoS but does not place many duties upon him. Demands for more detail on the new scheme (response was roughly that this is an enabling bill and so should expect this level of detail at this stage). Several demands that if we are to have high standards that imports should also adhere to similar standards to prevent UK producers being undercut. Calls for greater production of UK food to replace imported food. Calls for better food labelling. Support for increased data collection if it would allow fairer bargaining with supermarkets. Worry that lump sum direct payment decoupled from active farming may not have desired effect of removing older farmers and allowing new entrants. And some more things...
To me the first part of that review sounds positive but the second part comes across as more of the same. Now my location gives me no right to comment but an opportunity to deregulate and give agriculture a more dynamic platform is a rare opportunity. Don't know what age has to do with it.
 
To me the first part of that review sounds positive but the second part comes across as more of the same. Now my location gives me no right to comment but an opportunity to deregulate and give agriculture a more dynamic platform is a rare opportunity. Don't know what age has to do with it.

There was a strong feeling across the chamber that standards of production should not be reduced, even from some of those who I would have expected to suggest this such as Peter Bone. There were requests to cut the burden of inspections and form filling, but not to lower standards. There's a review on by Dame Someone to look at a new farm inspection regime.
 
I have always felt that more can be achieved improving regulation by working with the farmer to resolve on farm issues than penalizing and heavy handed buracratics. While giving farm inspectors more job satisfaction with positive outcomes.

I agree. I think to an extent Catchment Sensitive Farming have taken the right approach in this way. I know they must see a lot of poor practice, but rather than reporting such incidences they do try and work with farmers to make improvements.
 

Wheatonrotty

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
MK43
I have always felt that more can be achieved improving regulation by working with the farmer to resolve on farm issues than penalizing and heavy handed buracratics. While giving farm inspectors more job satisfaction with positive outcomes.
The best environmental health officer we had looking at our turkey processing and farm shop always saw his job as helping you to comply. You're far more likely to work with them than some jumped up jobsworth that just lays down the law from the second they arrive on site.
 

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