We have been busy meeting crofters across the island to agree management work which is known to benefit the machair and to trial additional initiatives where we can measure the wildlife benefits alongside crop yield.
Crofters were invited to sign-up to a number of management works, such as the binding of crops or the spreading of seaweed as organic fertiliser in order to increase the capacity of the crofter to carry out these traditional practices.
This has resulted in 30 Management Agreements for 2011across North and South Uist and Benebecula. Highlights include the spreading of seaweed on areas of machair which have not received organic fertiliser for more than thirty years. This has entailed a reduction in the amount of inorganic fertiliser being used in these areas, which will aid the establishment of wildflowers due to the slower release of nutrients that seaweed fertiliser provides. We have also increased the area of arable crop which is currently harvested by traditional reaper binder machines in areas of the island where the traditional harvesting of crops has much declined. Other management options we have signed crofters up for include the late harvesting of arable silage, which is grown as cattle feed and usually harvested in August. Delaying harvest until September will protect corncrakes which may be nesting or roosting their chicks in the crop.
We look forward to continuing to enter into agreements with crofters across the Uists. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.