One of the most annoying sights in late summer is that of a hedgerow being flailed to within an inch of its life, regardless of the loss of food for the millions of recently fledged juvenile birds of countless species through the late summer/early autumn period. Billions of berries and insect larvae that could contribute to fattening up residents and migratory species alike consigned to the ditch for no other reason than neatness.
I can hear the arguments, 'if we don't cut it early the ground gets wet, the weather gets in the way... blah blah blah' well what if you could reduce the cutting from an annual event to one in every three years? A third of your cutting costs and you get to benefit wildlife at the same time - win/win they call it in business. Not only do your costs go down but you get to demonstrate how farmers really are the custodians of our countryside as the NFU et al regularly claim.
Well those farmers that cut annually (and not all do) can now do just that, according to research just published from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology wildlife would receive a huge boost from a 'one in three' cutting regime. It's not rocket science but what's needed is an awareness campaign from our conservation and farming organizations to promote this to farmers and encourage more to change their practices. Helping to educate Joe Public that an uncut hedge is not an eyesore but a key wildlife habitat wouldn't go amiss too.