Rare arable weeds

Abbey Farm has several uncommon or rare arable weeds. We try to conserve these by:

  • maintaining several small patches of land which are cultivated each year but are not cropped. They are split between autumn and spring cultivation to suit different plant species. This land is prepared by ploughing or cultivating and, where possible, rolling to give a finer seedbed
  • using conservation headlands. These are 6m strips on the outside of some cereal fields which are cropped but not sprayed with herbicide or insecticide
  • having some organic arable land. Several uncommon arable plants occur on our organic fields
  • cultivating a small area of Stewardship grass margin which is a stronghold for Long-stalked Crane’s-bill (read more…)

These measures have worked well for all the arable weeds except the rarest, Corn Gromwell. This became very rare from 2010 to 2015 with no plants seen in the last three years despite specific management of its site for arable weeds. However, it was rediscovered in 2016. This was great news, but presented us with the challenge of conserving the wild plants without them cross-breeding with our commercial crop of the same species

Round-headed Prickly Poppy
Round-headed Prickly Poppy