Farming in Protected Landscapes Case Study:

Cut and Collect Project – Giffords Hall Farm

For Year 1 of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, £16,480 was awarded to Giffords Hall Farm and the Stour Valley Farmer Cluster (SVFC) to purchase a midi baler with its associated drawbar and transport trailer.

This equipment is for use on wildflower and grass margins and field corners, which are not possible to reach with the usual large balers.


The new baler has enabled the collection of mown material which was previously left on the ground. The environmental benefits are to maintain soil nutrient levels, improve conditions for arable plants and benefit biodiversity. Additional and important benefits have been to increase wildlife and the landscape value of the farmed landscape.

The baler is used after wildflowers have died down, and the collected material is spread elsewhere so that the seeds within the ‘green hay’ grow and flower again. Removing cuttings reduces nutrient enrichment, promoting the diversity of wildflowers. This increases pollen & nectar resources, providing food for a wide range of insects, birds and mammals.

What was done?

In some instances bales may be stored on farmland to create habitat for insects. Wildflowers are not just beautiful to look at; plant diversity attracts insects and other invertebrates including butterflies, bees, beetles, spiders and millipedes. The benefits to pollinators are particularly important on the farms.

They and their seeds are an important food source for small mammals such as field mice, voles, and the invertebrates they attract provide food for hedgehogs, shrews, moles, and a wide range of birds including birds such as swallows, swifts, owls, housemartins, warblers, nightingales and thrushes.


The equipment has been demonstrated and loaned to other members of the SVFC which has increased the area of effectively managed field margins and associated areas through the AONB, as there is currently no other similar facility or machinery available within the Cluster.

The baler has been loaned to farms which have existing floristically enhanced margins that can be cut and baled, with the green hay used to enhance diversity elsewhere so that the wildflowers and their benefits are enhancing field margins throughout the Vale. Farmers working together in this way makes the most of sharing expertise.

A botanical survey is underway to define the benefits of using this equipment in it’s first year and we will share a summary of the results on our website