by both the Organic & Countryside Stewardship Schemes,
these 130 acres are not cultivated.
Creeping thistle in almost permanently grazed sheep pasture.
Yorkshire Water PLC are landlords of this farm, which
is situated near reservoirs and is part of the immediate
water catchment area. Farm chemicals found in the water
cost a lot to remove.
Very High : Plants were so numerous that they appeared
to be touching. Well over 200 to 25 sq metres. Action
taken: Yorkshire Water commissioned 18 man-hrs.of
L-D Chisel Hoeing to assess the impact.
the intensity of the plants was so great, that progress
was slow. We only managed to chisel-hoe approximately
an acre. The farm will have to be managed very differently,
in order for it to remain organic. Changes must be radical,
and the improvements gradual. If cultivations were possible,
break crops and reseeding would help no end. Until an
agreement allowing this is forthcoming, L-D recommend
the following measures, in order to keep the farm
Confine sheep to as small an area as possible in winter
(yards or just one field), to allow the field turf to
recover some depth. This not only discourages light from
getting to the rhizome, but it also clears the land of
sheep (a vital precaution, anyway). Keeping the turf eaten
down all the time, is just no good.
After clearing the pasture boundaries of wall stones to
enable better access by cutting machines, roll the fields
flat. Eat off the hay fields closely in the early Spring
with the sheep and lambs.
When a good number of Creeping Thistle rosettes have grown
to 6", sharpen the blades of the topper, and set
it extremely close-to-the-ground. Use it to try
and cut the shoots off below the point of leaf development.
A Logic pasture topper might be the best tool, because
it is only 1.5.metres wide, and does not ‘bottom’ so readily
as a wider machine on skids. (Experiments with this machine
are on-going moorland grasses which are constantly grazed
Clear the boundary walls & hedges of all thistles,
to prevent seeding. Use handwork, strimmers, Lazy Dogs,
Weedhooks, for this work.
Clear the South western boundaries first.
Start taking handwork seriously. Get chisel hoeing and
using the L-D in the worst areas, spending a good week
every year doing this. The going will get easier from
year to year, so gradually increase the area covered.
Attention to detail is everything.
of demonstration: £180.