Midloe Grange Farm is a 240 acre arable farm where the aim is to maintain the farm’s viability by using modern technology to produce the maximum economic yields of premium crops, alongside caring and enhancing the environment.
Farmer: David Felce
Address: R. C. Felce & Son, Midloe Grange Farm, Rectory Lane, Southoe, Cambridgeshire, PE19 5YD
Member since 1999 and LEAF Demonstration Farm since 2000
Midloe Grange Farm is a 240 acre arable farm that works closely with neighbours to pool resources and expertise. Winter wheat is grown in rotation with oilseed rape and beans as a break crop that assist in the control of troublesome weeds and naturally restrict the build-up of pests and diseases. Appropriate use of technology and careful monitoring of crops is combined with responsible and sympathetic attention to the many wildlife and conservation features on the farm. David carries out his own agronomy on the farm and provides the service to a group of neighbouring farms. This has also included creating a Countryside Stewardship Scheme across several of the farms.
The farm is involved in projects to enable productive farming to take place whilst reducing the impact upon the environment. One example is being carried out with LEAF and the Environment Agency to look at ways of preventing and capturing soil and sediment that may transport nutrients and pesticides into water.
A number of hedges and trees have been planted over the years and hedge cutting is timed carefully being mindful that they are home and an important food source for wild animals and birds. There are seven ponds on the farm, two of which have been cleaned and one is stocked with fish. Six metre margins have been established around several fields, some of which have been sown with a mixture of grass and wild flowers to encourage wildlife. Midloe Grange is also home to summer visitors such as swifts and turtle doves, and migrant warblers, as well as all the resident species of birds that are part of a healthy farmed environment, such as skylarks, grey partridge, tree sparrows, linnets and bullfinches. A number of bird and bat boxes have also been set up around the farm to encourage nesting.
Ongoing monitoring of moths has identified several species of local and national importance, such as the white spotted pinion, which is dependent upon elm trees to lay its eggs. Midloe is fortunate to have a row of elm trees that have, to date, survived the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease.
A 15 acre paddock on the farm is of national importance. The paddock has ridge and furrow cultivation and moated boundaries. It has been dated back to the Middle Ages and is a County Wildlife Site. Green Winged Orchid, sulphur clover and stemless thistle are just some of the wildflower species that have been recorded on the site.
The farm has a meeting room that allows groups to explore ideas and theory before looking at the practical aspects out on the farm. The aim is to work with other groups and organisations to bring together different areas of expertise in order to develop sound, practical solutions.
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