Traditional harvesting techniques improves habitat

The Amish community in Hastings County use horse drawn reapers and binders to harvest oats and other grain. You can see  examples of this type of equipment in the Harvest Building at Farmtown Park. The sheaves of grain are put into stooks and then taken to the farm to be threshed. It is interesting to see some farmers on the island of Islay, famous for its whiskey, off the west coast of Scotland, harvest their oats in the same. However, they store the sheaves in stacks built on stone circles in a stack yard and fed them directly to the cows in winter.

Stooks on Islay

The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) is a Europe-wide network which raises awareness of the importance of low-intensity farming for nature conservation and aims to improve the way public policies respond to the needs of these farming systems. Many parts of Hastings County are best suited  for low intensive methods of agriculture and grazing at a low intensity, but all too often these areas as just seen as vacant land. Low intensive grazing with cattle or sheep helps maintain biodiversity as many species need open ground. A number of Ontario Species at Risk depend on open grassland like the loggerhead shrike, bobolink, and short-eared owls. Farmers need to be able to practise low  intensity farming with its benefits for wildlife