Back in the autumn, one of my uncles, a tractor and heavy machinery driver, was hired to seed a local field in East Kent, on the London clay, for a farmer under the Countryside Stewardship scheme. Attached is the label on one of the sacks.
What surprised me, perhaps naively, is the use of cultivars rather than more native types, but I was also struck by the inclusion of Alsike Clover and Gold of Pleasure - those are species I haven’t seen in that area of Kent and now, if I ever do, I’ll not know whether they are relics of cultivation or not - and will have to presume they are.
You can read about, ahem, Bumblebird, how much the farmer is paid and what is expected on this government webpage:
Probably not altogether good news.
I see that the mix varies HUGELY depending on who is marketing it. I’d guess that anything that flowers and is cheap, will do.
community stability - a 60-year record of trends and outbreaks in the occurrence of species in the park grass experiment - Open Research Online when I was looking at the record of species over 60 years on the Park Grass experiment one of the species started off on very few plots but then spread across all plots at around the time when the research station were doing breeding work to improve that same species for agriculture, it was the only species that showed a dramatic pattern like this. Dont have direct evidence of whether it was same genotype that was being bred elsewhere on station that jumped into this experiment on ‘wild’ species but did look quite likely.
Am I being cynical in thinking that some government minister’s chum or relative has shares in the supply chain?
There are a number of legumes around here that I suspect are relicts of amenity (or pasture or reclamation) seed mixtures - Alsike clover is one of them, but others are smooth tare, grass vetchling, lucerne, goats rue, and sainfoin. Crimson, resupinate and Egyptian clovers tend not to persist (and the latter two might have been contaminants). Other species, such as red clover, white clover, bird’s foot trefoil and black medick, have their numbers boosted by seed sowings.
For non-legumes perennial and Italian rye-grasses have large inputs of commercial seed; the same might be the case for other pasture grasses, but it’s not so obvious.