It’s that tiBrent Geeseme of year again – the geese are back!

Whilst many of you may welcome the return of the Brent geese from Siberia to the harbours around the South of England to those of us cereal farmers they are a pain to say the least!  The sight of vast flocks of up to 600 or more individual bGeese in flightirds swooping over the fields may be spectacular but when it’s your precious crop of wheat they are about to land on it’s not the most welcome.  Research has shown that 6 geese will eat as much as one sheep so it doesn’t take them long to mow off a field of 3 month old wheat, especially when the weather turns colder and the wheat stops growing.

So what’s the answer?  At this time of year it’s education – we provide refuge areas on the meadows where the geese can feed without disturbance, these fields are managed to provide grass at just the right height, but the geese prefer the tender young shoots of wheat so we have to persuade them  to stay in the refuge areas by constantly moving them off of the wheat.  This involves tramping over the fields, waving arms, letting off bangers or even filling the fields with posts and string to keep them off!  Eventually the geese will get the message and settle on the meadows by day and return to the safety of the water to roost, hopefully before Christmas!

Thankfully they’ve not yet developed a taste for chamomile so those fields are safe.