Name: Charles Tassell, Tassell Bros. Ltd.
Farm: Arable & Top Fruit
Size: 550 Ac
South facing aspect looking across the Weald of Kent. Greensand Way runs through the middle of the farm, light sandy soils at the top of the farm, running down to clay at the bottom. The farm produces winter wheat, winter beans and spring beans, and also has a commercial apple orchard.
What environmental management do you already undertake on your farm?
In the previous ELS scheme, most of the points were achieved with hedge and ditch options, with a few field corners. In February 2010 the business entered into the current ELS/HLS agreement which includes the reintroduction of sheep and cattle to the farm, supplied by a neighbouring grazier, on a reverted arable field where drainage had been proving difficult and making cropping less profitable. In the arable fields, floristically enhanced grass margins, beetle banks, wild bird seed mix plots, low input spring cereals, overwintered stubbles, conservation headlands and uncropped, cultivated areas for birds are now employed in appropriate locations.
How will you be/are you taking part in the Campaign?
The ELS/HLS options above include plenty of in‑field options that work towards the Campaign objectives. Outside of the scheme, the farm has field corners on a voluntary basis and also delivers additional overwintered stubbles managed as per Campaign option C7a. The area changes each year depending upon the area of spring cropping, and will be recorded with the CFE each year.
Will you be using an adviser?
Kent Wildlife Trust have advised and assisted with scheme implementation.
What are the benefits of taking part in the Campaign?
Achieving recognition of the wildlife friendly measures already happening on the farm. Help to focus additional measures to benefit local needs and target species. Income from the ELS/HLS, and flexibility with the voluntary element.
How does undertaking voluntary management fit in with your farming business?
As it is voluntary it means we can keep control of what measures we implement and change them around depending on how successful they are in each part of the farm, and to fit with the rotation, markets, soil types and field sizes and shapes.
What is driving you to take part in the Campaign?
I want to increase the wildlife and also maintain and enrich the natural resources on my farm, while at the same time meeting the challenges of increasing food production in the future. The Campaign is an important part of maintaining the balance between farm income, food production and biodiversity.
Above: Overwintered stubble management suits both the ELS and the Campaign voluntary measures, with the exact area varying each year according to the size of the field planned for Spring cropping (within suitable soil types). The hedge line above has been extended with a beetle bank to continue the wildlife corridor effect on to the next hedge, with turning room at the end.