Berwick-upon-Tweed based cereal processing company Silvery Tweed Cereals has joined the Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier scheme through its parent company H O Short & Sons Limited.
The scheme was put in place by DEFRA this year to improve local environments. The five-year initiative includes grant funding to support farmers who undertake important work to conserve the farmed environment as well as aimed at improving the environment for wildlife, insects, and pollinators while also improving water and air quality.
Silvery Tweed Managing Director, Robert Gladstone, commented, “We are passionate about farming, the countryside and improving our environment. We are honoured to have been accepted onto the Countryside Stewardship scheme as we work to protect and improve the land for growing crops as well as protecting wildlife. Our Farm Manager, Ross Flemming, has been hard at work on a number of projects that will help us achieve this.”
As part of the scheme, 20 hectares of cover crops have been planted and cultivated in the open fields at The Mead farm, which became part of the Silvery Tweed operation last year. This will improve the soil structures and drainage, as well as helping to minimise soil erosion and nitrate leaching over the winter months. This cover crop will be grazed by the sheep or cattle that call The Mead home from late January, prior to the ground being prepared for Spring Barley.
Winter bird food cover crop (AB9) has also been planted. Made up of Coleor Kale, Goldeneye Kale, Camaro Marrow, Stem Kale, Kale Rape, Linseed, Fodder Radish, Gold of Pleasure, White Mustard, Sandoval Quinoa, Phacelia, Chicory, and Utopia, AB9 provides shelter and food for songbirds, grey partridge, and insects throughout winter.
Grass margins that will be rich in flowers for pollinators next spring and give the watercourse protection by restricting agricultural activity have also been created. Concrete and drainage work is underway in the steading, which will reduce contamination of the local waterways by segregating
clean and dirty water. The dirty water will now be filtered through a sediment trap before entering the watercourse, helping to improve water quality.
Robert added, “We are looking forward to witnessing the fruits of our work over the next five years, whilst planning the next steps we can take as part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme.”