Flowers are supporting farmland birds
Below ground, a mass of root activity provides habitat for things like fungi, worms and springtails. Above ground, each plant supports its own range of life - tiny beetles, caterpillars and bugs. All this wild food helps farmland birds such as Lapwing, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.
The benefit for nature is a major reason for us to farm ecologically. As organic farmers we don't spray chemicals to kill off wild plants - we actually want them here to provide homes and feeding stations for insects that can then control crop pests like aphids.
Rare farmland plants return to Sheepdrove
Common poppies are bold, bright and stand out a mile during June and July. Unusual arable plants also found here include Field Gromwell, Prickly Poppy, Cornflower, Venus's Looking Glass, Dense flowered Fumitory and Dwarf Spurge.
These little gems are part of a living heritage from ages of farming and because of this excellent diversity, Sheepdrove Organic Farm is a site of UK-level importance for arable flora conservation.
Habitats for helpful wildlife
We are very keen on rough grass and if you visit Sheepdrove you will see plenty of unmown grass all year around. Uncut grass and hedges on the field margins and along the byways connect to become a network of corridors for wildlife.
Rough grass is vital for Barn Owls and Kestrels, birds who hunt this type of habitat for small mammals, especially Short-tailed Voles. Tussocky grass cover is essential for ground-nesters such as Yellowhammer.
Matted tussocks of grass in the unploughed field margins are also vital to the life cycle of many minibeasts; including spiders, specialist aphid-hunting wasps and the great predatory group called ground beetles. They are each adapted in a different way and together they prey on a vast range of potential pests, ranging from slugs and snails to caterpillars and aphids.
If you love wildflowers, please support organic farming.
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