Thanks to funding from Anglian Water we have a new piece of kit that is making a huge difference to our grassland management. One of the great assets of Rutland water nature reserve is its diversity; the reserve is blessed with lots of small areas of old meadows, grassland and pasture. This is great for biodiversity, but it is also a management challenge. Putting a small number of sheep or cows on a small area for a short length of time is difficult. The reason we want to graze off the year’s growth is to allow wildflowers and plants to flourish again the next summer.
To help us with this challenge we have purchased a mower harvester. This cuts and collects the year’s growth and enables us to remove it from the meadow. This is really important as taking away the nutrients stops the wildflowers being outcompeted by thistles, docks and nettles. It also gives the plants the space and light to grow well.
The mower works by using a heavy duty flail that fires the cuttings into a collector at the rear. It can then tip the cuttings into a trailer or somewhere suitable to compost. This mower is a great piece of machinery ideal for the tasks we have for it and we will see improvements on reserve in coming years.
By Joe Davis (Senior Reserve Officer – Habitats)