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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Harvest Time

This morning has turned out dry and cloudy and the forecast says mostly sunny and 10 per cent chance of precipitation!
I hope its correct because I have just arranged for a local farmer to come and take a hay cut on our wild flower meadow.
Last year for various reasons the cut wasn't made till October. Benefits were that butterflies and the Great Green Bush cricket were left alone. Just what effect the date of the cut makes on our insects I'm not sure. Visually of course its more attractive to walk round the uncut field than a field of stubble.
Two years ago I arranged for a 10 metre wide strip to be left to allow Meadow Browns and Common Blue butterflies to enjoy the grass. For the following two years it has been quite clear that the leaving the grass uncut created in the 10 metre strip a more dense grass growth that elsewhere.
Yellow Rattle has spread over most of the 4 acres and patches of Knapweed, Ladies Bedstraw, Perforate St Johns Wort, Field Scabious, all  appear to be spreading.
This morning before the cut I've been round helping to spread those patches by taking seeds still on the plants and casting it around generally in the same area but increasing the coverage.  That after all is what the cutting machines do and it will be interesting to see if I've have helped or not.

But whilst I'm writing this Blog, we have a problem, with the hay cut. The contractor has been to the field and because of the narrow lane he cant get his very long machinery in though the gate. So back to square one and more telephone calls are already taking place. Watch this space.
In the mean time here are some Burnet moths on a scabious flower in our meadow.

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