Farming

Farming _950

Farming in Cornwall is important to our economy, heritage and sense of place.  

Well managed farming practices can help sustain wildlife, improve soil and water quality, and reduce flooding.

However, poor management, intensification, and habitat loss have all impacted upon Cornwall’s countryside leading to a 50% decline in our farmland birds since the 1970’s. Simple changes to what is farmed, how crops are produced and the way in which field margins, hedgerows and water courses are looked after can transform Cornwall’s farmland into a productive and healthy environment – for wildlife and for people.  As 74% of Cornwall is agricultural land, perhaps the greatest opportunity for environmental growth lies with our farmers.  See how you can help.

Environmental impacts of farming

If you'd like a copy of these activities to keep, you can download our Farming Activity Cards here!

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Here are some ways you can help;

 

Manage hedgerows for wildlife

Restrict trimming to February, cut on a 2 or 3 year rotation and don’t cut all sides of a hedge in the same year. Maintain a minimum hedge height of 1m, retain hedgerow trees, and keep a thick hedge base and grass strip on either side.

Manage hedgerows for wildlife

Plant winter cover crops

Crops like oats, beans and vetch reduce soil erosion and nutrient leaching, and improve soil structure, fertility and water holding capacity.

Plant winter cover crops
 
 
 
 

Leave a grass buffer

Corridors or strips of rough grassland next to ponds and watercourses create habitat for wildlife, reduce erosion and lessen the amount of pollutants entering the water.

Leave a grass buffer

Create lapwing plots

By leaving fallow areas in arable fields, sparsely vegetated ground will attract lapwing and other ground nesting birds.

Create lapwing plots
 
 
 
 

Leave over-wintered stubble

Arable weeds provide essential food and cover over winter for seed eating birds and other wildlife.

Leave over-wintered stubble

Grow or sow areas of wildflowers

Wildflowers in grassy margins and field corners will boost pollination and attract wildlife.

Grow or sow areas of wildflowers
 
 
 
 

Don’t cut corners

Create wildlife habitat and buffer features in less productive field corners. Sew with tussock forming grasses or wildflowers, or allow oak, hawthorn and rowan space to grow.

Don’t cut corners

Create skylark plots

Leaving undrilled patches in winter cereal fields provide landing and feeding areas for skylarks, boosting their numbers.

Create skylark plots