June thoughts – for discussion

The emails to the CMG website come to me – and I get to see what issues crop up over time. Perhaps we, as a group, could discuss these further.  I’m not expecting a CMG meeting is on the cards in the near future so by posting this here – and on the FaceBook page, it would be really good to get some feedback.  I’m not writing any sort of comprehensive list – just a couple of things that have cropped up more than once – together with an idea I had this morning.

  1. I think most of CMG meadow owners are operating on quite small scale – old fields with old gateways and (frequently) large hedges.  Each year, people fortunate to find themselves with a meadow then struggle to get the hay cut and baled.  There are lots of reasons for this, as we’ve covered before. Of course, some have access to a contractor – or a neighbour with the right kit, but it’s not an option for all.  If meadows are not cut, it might not matter much in the short term – or they can be grazed off over winter.  However, there is a real demand for flexible access to small scale baling kit – and so far no practical answer has been found.  Is it feasible for small groups living in the right proximity to work together to buy and maintain kit in a cooperative way? It’s yet to be explored.  From the addresses members give out, it’s clear that we do have quite a few members living in relatively close proximity to each other (particularly over in the east of the county).   Is there any appetite for small scale cooperation – sharing the investment/effort? Could CMG help to facilitate introductions?
  2. Many of us have animals on our land – and want biodiverse grassland (whether classical hay meadow or pasture).  So, where do you put the animals when your grassland is covered with orchids, or knapweed or other precious beautiful plants?  If you have many rolling acres, then this might not be an issue – but if you are limited to a few acres, do you sacrifice plants or offload your animals to duller grass for the summer months? Is there room for cooperation in this area too?

On the CMG FaceBook page today, there was an offer made of native, self sown saplings to dig up and take away …..including ash.  That got me thinking about ash – and the tragedy of ash die back.  The hedges at our place contain some very old, once laid ashes which are now getting hard hit by die back and will be gone in the next few years.  We also have some ash that were planted in rows (in biodiverse pasture!) back in about 2000 and that are also pretty much gone (I’m taking the area back to grassland).  Out of all the hundreds of ash on our land, I’m seeing perhaps 6 or 7 (possibly more in the hard to access woods) that are showing decent resistance year on year.  I’m hoping for seedlings from those trees – and that, of those seedlings, some may show resistance again.  Should we/could we keep a “register” of some sort of the resistant trees amongst us – and then identify whether there are resistant seedlings being produced?  

I did a search on line….which produced this link

http://www.confor.org.uk/news/latest-news/a-new-breakthrough-on-ash-dieback/

– where research has been done on genetic markers in ash trees associated with tolerance of the fungus.  

It’s not strictly meadows I know, but we are a nature friendly bunch.  I like the idea of there being a some record of resistant ash trees holding out in valleys round Carmarthenshire – and their seedlings being nurtured as a long term project. Any views?

Talking of long term projects – please keep a look out for glow worms as they should be active for another good month. I have had so far 9 records which is excellent and I will do a post later in the year when the glowing season is done.

Rachel

1 thought on “June thoughts – for discussion

  1. Re: sharing and getting kit –
    Yeah , Monmothshire Meadows Group got NHLF funding for a small meadows group euipment to be shared , interpretation, training,etc via a project a few years ago. Also Welsh Gov run the Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS) which could be looked at as that is all about bringing groups of land managers together to deliver better land management. Also there is a very good local SMS coordinator in Llandeilo. In my previous life before wokring in project development and funding where I am now i did get shared kit to help grazing incluidng mobile cattle crushes, one of which was based at the NBGW.
    All the best

    Charles

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