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This last week I have been driving around a few farms I shoot to see where if any rape had gone in, I found a few fields that had some rape coming through but also other plants that I assumed were weeds but I did not recognise them, got to another farm and three fields of similar types of plants, so a drive up the farm and gets chatting to the farmer, I asked him what he had sown in the fields, seems this year a lot of the farms in this area are dropping rape as a brake crop and sowing cover crops.

Although I did find a few rape fields it is well down again this year, but looking at the mix of this cover crop I think it will pull some pigeons in the coming months, I hope. :)

Farmer gave me a label with the cover crop mix which contains the following.

Bristle oat, Buckwheat, Linseed, Phacelia, Deeptill radish, Fodder Radish, False flax, Abyssinian mustard, White mustard, Sunflower, Forage rape, Crimson clover.

Anyone else seen cover crop replacing rape?

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Its a CS,BPS crop. Farmer gets paid £595/hectare to grow it. It doesn't get harvested but it naturally provides 1 ton of "bird seed" per hectare, for the wild birds over the winter months when bird food is scarce. There are a few types, the one you have listed is a yearly crop (we have the same one on some of ours) There are also two year crops.

It works! We have hundreds of different song birds, some quite rare on the farm.

Also good for the bee's

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7 minutes ago, silver pigeon69 said:

Its a CS,BPS crop. Farmer gets paid £595/hectare to grow it. It doesn't get harvested but it naturally provides 1 ton of "bird seed" per hectare, for the wild birds over the winter months when bird food is scarce. There are a few types, the one you have listed is a yearly crop (we have the same one on some of ours) There are also two year crops.

It works! We have hundreds of different song birds, some quite rare on the farm.

Also good for the bee's

Exactly that.

One of the farmers locally has grown this mixture round field margins. Last winter those strips were covered in tweety birds.

In July he topped about half the acreage and I felt that the winter feed value would be lost. Only this afternoon I walked round some of them and was pleased to see good regrowth.

 

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As B725 says this is more commonly used as a green fertiliser. There were 3 farmers using this in our patch over the summer espescially on ground that they were unable to drill with spring crops. It made little sense to me when you consider the diesel costs of working the ground & drilling, the spray costs (these crops were dessicated ) ,then chopped & finally cultivated into the new seedbed this Autumn.

  On the up side a couple of fields did attract pigeons...one field early on where they were after the rape & red clover as it emerged & one after it had been chopped. The chopped crop had some pods with Lupin-like seeds in them which I assume was the seed pods  of the Flax? Mustard may also have been a food source when emerging/growing.

 I have not yet found any being drilled as an overwintering crop. Virtually no-one around here is growing rape this winter unfortunately, a problem compounded by the increase in 'market garden' crops on rented land. These growers do not want rape grown anywhere near their brassica crops.

  I'm going to take up coarse fishing I think.

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26 minutes ago, silver pigeon69 said:

Its a CS,BPS crop. Farmer gets paid £595/hectare to grow it. It doesn't get harvested but it naturally provides 1 ton of "bird seed" per hectare, for the wild birds over the winter months when bird food is scarce. There are a few types, the one you have listed is a yearly crop (we have the same one on some of ours) There are also two year crops.

It works! We have hundreds of different song birds, some quite rare on the farm.

Also good for the bee's

Not so sure about these fields providing seed over winter as it will go dormant before it has chance to produce flowers and then seed.

The farmer I spoke to told me it was mainly used for soil improvement.

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i believe it is linked directly to an EU subserty.....by the EU law a farmer must grow a certain % of his farm with this "type" of crop as a soil improver....we have it here and generally it is poor for pigeon shooting but good for holding pheasants...but you need dogs to put the birds up....and then it is ploughed in.....

your mix contains clover so it is bee friendly as well as being a legume that supplies nitrifying bacteria which will improve the soil and as a result reduce the ammount of fertilizer needed to sustain a crop

 

cant see pigeons being interested tho' once the crop is established

 

with all this rain we have been getting i think we would be better off growing rice..:/

Edited by ditchman
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38 minutes ago, ditchman said:

i believe it is linked directly to an EU subserty.....by the EU law a farmer must grow a certain % of his farm with this "type" of crop as a soil improver....we have it here and generally it is poor for pigeon shooting but good for holding pheasants...but you need dogs to put the birds up....and then it is ploughed in.....

your mix contains clover so it is bee friendly as well as being a legume that supplies nitrifying bacteria which will improve the soil and as a result reduce the ammount of fertilizer needed to sustain a crop

 

cant see pigeons being interested tho' once the crop is established

 

with all this rain we have been getting i think we would be better off growing rice..

Yes that's basically what he said, its nothing to-do with producing over wintering wild bird seed, its a soil improver mix and will be ploughed in come next autumn and sown with winter corn.

Pigeons, there seems to-be a fair amount of rape coming through so it may produce some shooting, we will see.

Talking of rape, on my drive around there is a field that was winter rape and combined the end of July, its not been sown with anything and the self set rape is about a foot high, walking this field I was looking for signs of flea beetle but I could see no signs and it looks strong and healthy, be interesting to see how it fairs over the next few months.

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2 hours ago, mellors said:

Looks like mostly linseed going in round my area. Don't think they'll be many pigeons for me this winter. 

That's interesting.  There's a fair bit of resistance to growing linseed owing to old wives' tales based on difficulty in harvesting etc. Countrywide, there's a fair bit of linseed being grown. As you stated, no good for pigeons but the little rape grown should concentrate the pigeons. Flea beetle resistant rape may be on the way.

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2 hours ago, mellors said:

Looks like mostly linseed going in round my area. Don't think they'll be many pigeons for me this winter. 

I've shot pigeons over winter linseed many times. Keep your eye on it.

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Sounds like this mix he has put down

https://www.brightseeds.co.uk/autumn-promise/p263

Product Description

BEST SELLER

MIXTURE

  • Buckwheat
  • Mustard
  • Texel Greens
  • Forage Rape
  • Early English Vetch
  • Tyfon
  • Interval (Rape x Kale)
  • Utopia
  • Radical Fodder Radish

FEATURES

  • Mustard and buckwheat give quick early cover.
  • Tyfon and texel greens provide summer cover.
  • Forage rape, Utopia and Goblin provide cover from Sept to Jan.
  • Ideal for patching up and replenishing second year covers.

SOWING RATE

22KG per ha

STEWARDSHIP COMPLIANT AB9

 

or this one?

Grass Buster

Product Description

MIXTURE

  • Bittern Kale (treated)
  • Kale (untreated)
  • Gold of Pleasure
  • Interval
  • Utopia
  • Radical Radish
  • Lightning Mustard
  • Phacelia
  • Linseed

FEATURES

  • Available with chicory.
  • Will last for two years if managed correctly.
  • Excellent option for controlling grass weeds post-emergence.
  • Provides a brassica-based cover, ideal for flushing and holding.
  • This mixture has a wide drilling window, with successful crops being established from early May through until early August.

SOWING RATE

20KG per ha

STEWARDSHIP COMPLIANT AB9

 

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