We are able to support a huge range of wildlife on the farm – from invertebrates to mammals and birds. The deer are a glorious sight especially on a frosty bright winter morning. There are foxes, badgers and hares fighting, like hares do. The buzzards, hawks and owls are simply thrilling. Songbirds multiply noisily, and when they get too popular, the kestrels sort them out.
Clive Hill, our livestock manager, tells us a bit about organic and the wildlife at Eastbrook Farm.
“For us, organic farming way is a way of producing food crops in an ethical and sustainable away without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides or other artificial chemicals. This has added benefits for the environment too – and studies have shown that, on average, organic farms have 25% more bird species, 75% more plants and 50% more pollinators like butterflies and bees.
My passion is birds and particularly birds of prey. As they are at the top of the food chain they are a very good indicator of how productive the food web is. No prey means no predators, and my tally for Eastbrook is 12 different species of raptor. On one memorable day whilst we were harvesting I saw five species of raptor in one field from my tractor – surely an indicator of how organic farming and successful ecosystems go hand in hand.
I love the changing seasons, the fact that no two days are the same and that I get the opportunity to see and get very close to nature every working day. It gives me pleasure to show some of the many visitors our animals and explain our farming methods. In some small way I hope that this can make a difference – to show people how the food they eat can be produced whilst protecting the fragile environment we live in.”