By: CropLife International

“We’ve shifted away from generations that were focused on food, that’s not their primary focus. People today care about the environment.” Paul Temple, is a third generation beef and arable farmer in Yorkshire. Running a family farm, legacy is extremely important to Paul, and he is always on the lookout for ways to make his farm more sustainable.

In the following video Paul talks about how the grassland margins on his farm give bees a place to forage and have helped to bring other species back to the area.

In the EU, farmers must maintain a 2-meter margin alongside their hedges. In Paul’s case this left him with a grass margin around all his fields. This might seem like quite a lot of land to go unfarmed, but what Paul found was that these margins have been extremely beneficial for the local wildlife.

“If you leave these grass margins, you get a lot more small mammals there. Two or three years after these have been established then you’ll get owls and other small mammal predators,” he explained.

Paul joined a high-level environmental scheme that increases these margins up to 10m. More used to farming crops, Paul found this to be a slow learning curve. “The tricky bit is you get one cycle a year. We’re eight years into our environmental scheme so I’ve only got eight years or eight cycles of experience.”

However, over time experimenting with different flowering mixes within his margins, and learning when to cut and manage this land, has helped Paul to make these areas more effective: “we are now finding owls back in the area that we never had when I was a child.”

Paul also follows Integrated Pest Management practices on his farm. You can learn more about what he does on his farm in our Crop Protector video series.

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