Last week, BEACON and Natural England got together to host a Farm Workshop at Egerton Hall, Rostherne. This workshop aimed to provide farmers with more information on the control of invasive non-native species, as well as water friendly farming and agri-environment schemes. There were elements of indoor presentations and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held adjacent to Rostherne Mere.
In the morning, the attendees went out to Rostherne Mere to look at practical demonstrations of how to control invasive species. The group discussed how each control method works, and also non-chemical ways to control invasive non-native species. Rupert, the Ranger at Rostherne Mere demonstrated their quad mounted spraying equipment, and Sally from BEACON showed the group how the stem injector works.
Following lunch a short presentation was given to farmers on the effects of pollution on rivers and the different sources it can come from. Everyone was very surprised about the polluting effects of milk! There was lots of discussion and advice given on how to make sure your farm is working in a water friendly way.
There was another outdoor session in the afternoon to visit the areas of Rostherne Mere that aren’t publically accessible. It was great to be able to go to places that are ordinarily closed, and Rupert gave a fantastic talk on what the issues are with managing the Mere and how he addresses these. Himalayan balsam in the reed beds was a great cause for discussion.
In the feedback we got from the farmers they all enjoyed the day. They found it useful to have different organisations there and see practical demonstrations given. Everyone felt they had learned something they could apply to their work at home, which is a hugely positive outcome for BEACON, Natural England and most importantly the natural environment.