Arable surveying in Wales... we CAN make space for those ‘weeds’

Jan Winder

Jan Winder

Wales Farmland Officer

26th September 2017

This is my second year of searching field margins for arable wild flowers and other plants in Wales.

The exciting thing about arable plant surveying is you never know what is going to turn up! But also sad that these plants have become so rare since the 1950’s.

What exciting moments they are when you stumble upon something special like this most beautiful blue Cornflower whilst searching through a field of oats in Pembrokeshire.

cornflower

Or walk into a fallow field which is literally dominated by Corn Marigold, so dense it is quite a challenge to walk through.

Fallow field margin full of corn marigold

Unsprayed field margins are always a treat, a snapshot from the past, and worth spending a little more time pottering around in; offering a colourful diversity of annual plants, all relying on cultivation for their survival.

Unsprayed field margin, Pembrokeshire

In 2016, 21 arable farms were surveyed, and in 2017, 18 farms. The autumn will be spent writing farm reports for each farm, these include species lists, maps, photos and management recommendations.

The message is simple, if we allow a little more space for these beautiful and important arable plants they can survive and flourish.

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