Coming to a field near you…

Winter crops 2014. St Ouen's Bay. Photo by Cris SellaresBy Cris Sellarés

Following last winter’s successful Farmland Scheme, which engaged the help of many farmers in our efforts to stop the decline of local bird populations, we are pleased to announce that this year’s ‘Winter Bird Crops’ are being planted again across the island.

These specialised crops will be planted after the potato harvest and will produce a mixture of seeds and cereals. We have planted out such valuable crops as barley, mustard, quinoa, millet and sunflower (see advice here and free access paper here for importance of these crops). Throughout the winter these crops will provide food for the local birds, which, come spring, will repay this effort by feasting on the bugs and pests attacking the farmer’s commercial crops.

Thanks to a grant from the Co-Op EcoFund and the Countryside Enhancement Scheme, this year Birds On The Edge has been able to provide enough seed to cover twice as much ground as last year’s pilot scheme, to invite more farmers to join, and to expand to new areas such as St Ouen’s Bay.

We look forward to seeing the crops in full bloom and we will update you as soon as the birds start flocking to them.

Linnet 2. Photo by Mick Dryden


5 thoughts on “Coming to a field near you…

  1. Top work.

    Now what we need is a nationwide scheme that mirrors this in the UK. Patterson has been fired but I suspect Liz Truss will be no better. However, I shall write to her just the same.

    Still, three cheers for Jersey and the ongoing success of these inspiring projects!

  2. Good for them but do these farmers not spray? In Suffolk the crops are sprayed alot hence not much insect life for birds to feast on which may account for the decline in the first place.

    • Cris replies: Many thanks for the feedback. It all depends really on the type of crop and timing of planting. Farmers here in Jersey spray right after planting the Jersey royal (potato), before the plastic goes on top early in the year. They don’t spray the winter bird crops with anything as far as I’m aware. There is no need to. Except for a plant called Phacelia, which is found in some of the mixes we’re using and is very good for insects, the crops are not targeted at insects, but birds, producing seeds and cereals which will be eaten in the winter when there aren’t many insects anyway. Having said that, when the crops are in flower (October-November) there are plenty of insects on them. Bees, butterflies etc.