5.     Farm Operations


1.1                   CULTIVATIONS

Always                 Leave a 1 metre strip uncultivated by any field boundary (e.g.,hedge, wall, ditch).

TryTo                   Leave a wide strip uncultivated alongside any significant watercourse or important wildlife area.

Avoid                   Excessive cultivations which are damaging to the soil structure.

                            Ploughing permanent grassland.  If this proves impractical, wherever possible plough in spring and reseed or plant immediately.


1.2                   DRILLING

 Try to                  Drill winter crops as soon as possible after cultivations.

                            Use firm seed beds to assist in the control of slugs.

                            Drill slug pellets with winter wheat seed rather than broadcast them if an attack is anticipated.

Avoid                   Leaving treated seed on the soil surface.

                            Leaving slug pellets on the soil surface.


1.3                   INORGANIC FERTILLISERS

Always                 Target application accurately.

                             Check and calibrate machinery regularly.

Match soil requirements more exactly to nutrient requirements by regular soil analysis.

Apply required treatments at the optimum time for uptake by the crop.

Try to                   Use pneumatic spreaders or if not available use deflector mechanisms at the edge of the crop.

Avoid                   Exceeding recommendations.

                            Applying to field boundaries, watercourses, uncropped buffer zones and areas not improved for agriculture.

                            Applying nitrogen after August or in conditions when leaching or runoff is likely.


1.4                       ANIMAL MANURES (refer to the Code of Practice - Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activities 1995. - PEPFA code)

Always                 Ensure sufficient storage capacity (6 months).

                            Ensure storage areas have sufficient safety bands and over-spill lagoons.

Try to                   Use injection or low-level boom application of slurry.

                            Avoid winter spreading but if necessary apply light applications at more frequent intervals during dry periods.

                            Apply only to actively growing grass crops or if spreading on stubble, plough in immediately.

Avoid                   Applying near to field boundaries or within 10 metres of watercourses.

                            Applying slurry when ground is frozen or waterlogged.

                            Application on steep slopes.


1.5                   CROP PROTECTION

Always                 Follow the regulations laid down by the FEPA/COSHH Code.

                            Read carefully and follow the instruction on the product label.  Choose varieties for their known disease resistance.

                            Inspect the crop to assess the need (if any) for crop protection measures.

                            Ask your supplier how the product might affect wildlife.

                            Choose the products which show greatest safety to the natural environment.

                            Spray only when and where necessary - on grasslands use spot treatment in preference to spraying over a wide area.

                            Spray only when conditions are right.

                            Calibrate the sprayer frequently.  Use the correct equipment and spray accurately.

                            Make use of the bee-keepers' warning system.

                            Drill slug pellets with the seed where problems are anticipated.  When an unexpected attack occurs, broadcast slug pellets only to affected area.  Use a standard method of assessing slug populations.


1.6                   SURPLUS PESTICIDES AND CONTAINERS (See PEPFA code)                         

Always                 Ensure the safe storage and disposal of pesticides, containers and

                            washings by meeting the legal requirements and the guidance given in the FEPA/COSHH Code.

                            Consult Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on best methods of disposal in the locality.

                            Dispose of diluted pesticides and tank washings by selecting one of the following:

                            i)      Using a soakaway approved by SEPA

                            ii)     Using a small area of arable land as a disposal area for non-persistent pesticides

                            iii) Using a water effluent treatment plant

                            iv)    As a last resort applying to an area of uncultivated and uncropped land of minimum wildlife value (seek advice from SEPA and FWAG).  This is the least satisfactory method of disposal Uncropped land always has wildlife value.

                            v)     Think ahead.  Spray the last full tank at slightly reduced concentration, then use the tank washings to spray the same land a second time to empty sprayer

                            vi)    Leave at least part of the headland until last to accommodate washings.

                                    Wash out empty containers and dispose of them by either:

                            vii) Depositing in a licensed land-fill site (Local Authority can advise)

                            viii) Burning paper sacks and suitable plastic containers (seek advice from Local Authority and/or HM Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate)

                            ix)    Burying at least 0.8m deep on a marked site that will not result in the contamination of ground or surface water.  Consult SEPA for advice.

Try to                  Calculate the right amount of pesticide needed to do the job.

Never                  Contaminate ponds, watercourses or other sites of wildlife value.

                            Allow accumulation of surplus pesticides in one area where concentration will build up.

                            Dispose of surplus pesticides or washings on public rights of way.


1.7                       HARVESTING

Always                Allow escape routes for wildlife by harvesting in sections rather than working in from the field edges.

                            Take care to avoid spray drift onto field boundaries and buffer zones when burning off or desiccating crops.

                            Use insecticides in stores only when necessary.

                            Keep records of all insecticides used on stored grain and avoid duplicating treatments.

Try to                   Put grain in a hygienic store.  This will reduce potential problems.

                            Consider joining Scottish Quality Cereals (SQC - Contact Scottish Agricultural College)


1.8                       GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Always                Leave a 1 metre buffer zone alongside field boundaries. 

Try to                  Watch out for and avoid ground nesting birds and other animals when making silage or hay.

                            Allow escape routes for wildlife by cutting hay and silage crops from the centre outwards or in sections not working in from the field edges.

2.                    ANIMAL HEALTH PRODUCTS

2.1                       SHEEP DIP

Always                Check the active ingredients and label instructions before using sheep

                            dip chemicals.  Organo-chlorine insecticides (e.g., dieldrin) are illegal.

                            Read and follow label recommendations.

                            Consult SEPA on disposal of sheep dip.

Try to                  Avoid organo-phosphorus sheep dips

                            Dispose of spent dip by spreading it at a rate of 0.2-1.5 litre per square metre over suitable level ground - either arable land or pasture from which livestock are excluded for 1 days.  Consult the PEPFA code.

                            Mix spent dip with slurry before spreading.  This should speed up bacterial breakdown.

Avoid                  Using soil soakaways - no longer recommended by SEPA.

                           Spreading spent dip in wet or waterlogged conditions.

                           Spreading spent dip on areas such as rough grazing which are important to wildlife.

                          Allowing recently dipped sheep to walk through streams.


2.2                       WARBLE FLY

Try                    To use a treatment which avoids any non-target species.  Avoid using organo-phosphorus compounds where possible.

Always               Read and follow label recommendations.


2.3                        RAT CONTROL

Always                Read and follow instructions on the product label.

                            Make sure rodenticides are not accessible to other species of wildlife e.g., barn owls and also domestic animals.

                            Call in professional help where rats are resistant to anticoagulants.

Try to                   Ensure low rat populations by "good housekeeping", regular trapping or by using a few permanent bait sites.

                             Restrict major rat control operations to the autumn/winter months.

Avoid                   Using rodenticides in buildings where barn owls are known to roost or breed.

                            Using rodenticides during spring and summer along field boundaries used by hunting birds of prey.


6.     Zero Budget Options

Zero Budget Options are suggestions which are made in an effort to enhance the conservation value of the farm without incurring any cost to the farm business. For example, not cutting the hedges on an annual basis, leaving dead timber in situ, and keeping fertiliser and chemicals away from field margins. Other options are highlighted in the workguide earlier in this text.



7.     Grant Aid/Further Help

Many of the suggestions included with this report can be facilitated under the Rural Stewardship Scheme.  This is the Scottish Executives principle agri-environment scheme and is designed to encourage farmers to undertake certain measures to enhance and protect the conservation value of their property by offering financial incentives for both capital and management operations. Entry to the scheme is competitive with each application being subject to a ranking scale. The number of points necessary to gain entry to the scheme is set by SEERAD. Applicants are expected to sign up to the scheme for an initial 5 year period with the expectation that they will re-sign at this point to carry out the scheme for a further 5 years.

Small scale tree planting may be eligible for funding under the Borders Tree Grant Scheme which is designed to assist with tree and hedge planting on a scale which does not qualify for Forestry Commission Grant Schemes.

Larger scale plantings could be eligible for grant under the Woodland Grant Scheme and the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme.


Details of these schemes are included later in this plan.