Our environmental expert, Tim Field, along with his dedicated team, is in charge of developing the sustainable future of Daylesford, working to ensure we continue to be one of the most sustainable organic farms in the country. Here he gives us an update on some exciting developments over the last 12 months.
Twelve months ago, we planted nearly 5,000 trees in the chicken field, including 800 apple trees of 36 different varieties. The chickens have welcomed these exciting new features in their territory, doing a great job of keeping the weeds at bay and allowing the young trees to grow.
The hare population seems to be booming, with nine spotted over the winter. A favourite food for the hares is the beetroot in the Market Garden, keeping our Head Market Gardener Jez on his toes!
The skylarks also found the mixed cropping rotations, bare patches of scratched-up soil and tussock grasses of interest as they spent their summer high in the sky above, singing their noisy song.
The Wilderness Wetland is now in its 11th year and never ceases to amaze us with new sightings of wildlife all the time.
We carried out the Big Farmland Bird Count again this year, a national initiative that gives farmers an opportunity to provide citizen science about the wildlife they attract on their land. In the 20-minute counting window, we spotted no less than 33 species, with a few unusual sightings. Most notable was the peregrine falcon, which can reach speeds of up to 390km/hr and claims top spot in the world’s fastest animals.
Also spotted for the first time were three Shoveler ducks, with their spoon-shaped bill that shovels and sifts for food.
The more astute walkers on the farm will have noticed the extension to our production kitchens, which has created a patch of recently broken ground. This will become another corner for seeding wildflower mixes, to add to the area already planted in the opposite field, providing yet more foraging potential for our honeybees and other pollinators.
We are due to plant several further acres of pollen and nectar rich field margins and corners this year, all helping our precious pollinators.
These initiatives support the SDG2, SDG6, SDG13 and SDG15 goals from the UN Sustainable Development Goals.