Hay meadow restoration 2013

 hay meadow

We have been carrying out hay meadow restoration projects again this year for Nidderdale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

The aim of the project is to restore traditional species rich meadows, to poor over farmed grasslands.  This is achieved by collecting seeds from existing species rich meadows and spreading them on pre-determined receptor sites.

We have two methods of collecting seeds.  The first is the use of a seed harvester, towed behind an atv.  The brush inside the harvester gently pushes the seeds off the grasses, which are then collected into bags.  The seeds are then stored in our drying sheds until the receptor sites are ready.

 Seed harvesting

The second method is by cutting green hay.  Using a double chop forage harvester, the hay and seeds are collected directly into a rear discharge muck spreader.  The green hay is then taken directly to the pre-prepared receptor site where it is spread.  Once the green hay dries, the seeds fall out onto the ground and then germinate.

 Green hay harvesting

There are many reasons for restoring hay meadows.  As well as a breathtaking display of flowers from spring through to summer, traditional hay meadows are botanically very rich with over 30 species of plants per square metre.  They include wildflowers such as Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor minor), Fair Flax (Linon catharticum) and provide a habitat for a wider range of wildlife from nesting birds to Bees.  These meadows are a part of our rural heritage.  Farmers can also receive grants to carry out hay meadow restoration, with the potential to supply seeds in the future for financial gain.

Whether you are a local authority, business or private landowner, we have the experience and the expertise to manage every aspect of your environmental management plans. Contact us today for further details of our complete range of services.