This teamwork has been key to the success of the 55 acres of game crops which are grown in the same location year after year. Cover crop sites are fixed due to the exceptionally steep terrain, so a comprehensive management plan has been developed to get the best out of the plots each year. Soil testing is undertaken every spring as the combination of high rainfall and thin soils can lead to leaching of key nutrients. Lime is regularly applied to ensure the pH remains at the 6-6.5 target level.
To ensure consistent results, reed canary grass or Stand and Deliver (perennial chicory) has been established over a third of each plot to create longer term cover areas. These crops are excellent at providing shelter on the more exposed sites and creating valuable flushing cover. The remaining areas are then planted with a special kale blend, which consists of Coleor, 1000 head and Goldeneye varieties, along with triticale/linseed and maize.
All crops are selected to match a corresponding agronomy plan as, given the previous cropping history, weed control is critical. Each crop is partnered where possible to allow ease of management for Mr Westcott, so that a block of triticale and linseed mix, for example, can be sprayed at the same time as the maize crop.