This year’s wheat harvest yield was 15-20% lower than average and generally of poor quality in common with farms across the UK. Lack of sunshine during June/July combined with high rainfall made for very unfavourable growing conditions and high disease prevalence. Many parts of the world fared badly this growing season and by comparison with the USA we were relatively fortunate. By contrast the sugar beet crop has transferred into the factory at Bury St Edmunds and has shown excellent yields. Now we look to the 2013 crop and drilling has already commenced with over 50% of next year’s wheat complete and the new oil seed rape fields romping away despite huge slug pressure.
We are delighted to have won the GWCT (Game Wildlife Conservancy Trust) East Anglian Grey Partridge award for 2012 in September which recognises the efforts made on the estate to improve habitats for wild birds. The GWCT praised Trumpington Estate for its considered approach to conservation across the entire estate commenting: ‘Wildlife conservation is an integral part of the overall management of the Trumpington Estate and they have achieved notable success with increasing numbers of a wide variety of birds including the grey partridge.’
A new threat to the Estate, and indeed the whole UK countryside, is a disease affecting Ash trees recently identified by the Forestry Commission. Their website states that ‘This new threat is the highly destructive Chalara dieback of ash trees, caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus.’ It has already affected a number of recent planting sites in the UK and has been found in nurseries with stock imported from the continent. The fear is that this has the potential to be as destructive to the countryside as Dutch Elm Disease. More information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk .
A number of calf births occurred on the meadows late in the summer. Do be aware that nursing heifers can be protective of their offspring, especially when dogs are present. We would urge you to keep dogs on a lead around the cattle with young but to let the lead go if the dog is chased.
Sheep have recently reappeared across the river at Trumpington Fen and will stay with us over the winter.
The ‘Neighbours Farm Walk’ took place on Saturday 13th October with 19 neighbours and children joining us for a tractor and trailer ride around Cantelupe Farm and Trumpington Fen. The group viewed the new grain stores, machinery sheds, reservoirs, woodland planting sites, cricket bat willow coppice, wetland habitats, the heronry and much more. Feedback was particularly positive about the conservation work and tree planting that has taken place on the Estate.
Coton Road dog walkers – Habitat preservation vs dog walking
A number of residents have taken to dog walking through a hole in a hedge at the top end of Coton Road toward the Baulk. The strip of land beyond the hedge is entered into stewardship, meaning that we commit to preserve this area for wildlife habitat instead of farming up to the margins of the field. We will be repairing the broken boundary shortly, and respectfully ask you to please stop using this area for walking and dog walking. Public and permissive paths are clearly marked on the estate website www.trumpingtonestate.com
David, Richard, Debbie and all the team at Trumpington Farm Company