Agroforestry at Little Steeping
The agroforestry scheme at Little Steeping continues to evolve and will benefit food crops, our soil and wildlife in the area.
This scheme forms part of our overall countryside stewardship initiative and sits alongside grass and wildflower margins, legume pollinator mixes, and wild bird covers.
The land at Little Steeping had not previously benefitted from stewardship, which has enabled us to identify a baseline on which future improvements can be measured. This baseline also allows an effective comparison to other areas of the farm, which have been under stewardship for many years.
As part of this agroforestry initiative, 622 apple trees have been planted within the conventionally cropped area. The apple trees include cider, eating and cooking varieties, giving us wider opportunities in the future. Around the outside, 300 elderflower trees have been planted to help protect the site while also providing a flower-rich nectar resource for insects. The flowers can also be harvested for cordial.
The site at Little Steeping is perfect for this scheme thanks to the north-south running square fields. This means that the cereal crops will not be subject to shade from the trees, therefore not inhibiting yields. The added benefits for invertebrates will, in turn, provide pollination and natural pest control services to the crop.
This 110-ha scheme is monitored for the presence and abundance of key species, giving us the ability to understand the value of environmental features and food production.
The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR