Keep your covers growing

Despite global chaos – and hesitation among some shooting estates about how this year will pan out – Chris Bright, managing director of Bright Seeds, reports that business remains a hive of activity

Working within government guidelines, we are still processing a vast amount of maize, game mixtures and stewardship wild bird crops as demand for such products has barely stalled.  

With six months or so to go to the shooting season, many shoot owners have their eyes set on next winter’s field sports. Not unreasonably they believe matters will have much improved by then; or certainly sufficiently so for an outdoor pursuit such as shooting to proceed relatively unhindered.

Whatever arrangements are being made for next season’s shooting, the countryside and all that goes with it continues: and those who tend our wildlife and conservation can do so largely unimpeded by current restrictions. Gamekeepers can operate proficiently in self isolation.

Of those shoots that have altered plans, the vast majority intend to uphold measures that protect and sustain wildlife. This might mean replacing some crops with a mixture predominantly aimed at feed supply for farmland birds or the planting of a catch crop to enhance soil fertility and structure. The options are numerous.

For its part, Bright Seeds has developed its ‘Revival Mix,’ specifically designed for these unusual times. The aim is to provide a nitrogen-fixing crop that is mindful of cost, yet beneficial to wild stocks and other wildlife. Not intended to be a fully-fledged winter hardy game cover; but a crop able to mark and hold land intended for future game cover.

Additionally, the mix can clean-up weed-burdened land used for game cover: and for each acre sold, £2 will be donated to the NGO to assist its members. Containing mustard, radish, vetch, quinoa, phacelia and buckwheat, the mix will provide feed value, early establishment and colour (an important consideration at the moment).

We are also seeing a heightened demand for permanent cropping, particularly canary grass-based mixtures like ROYAL MARK 3,4,5, 6 alongside Miscanthus. By providing longer-term cover, it means the year is used for establishment and is therefore not lost.  

To order or discuss your cover crop options, call Bright Seeds on 01722 744494; our visit the website

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