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    Environment and farming field day

    Posted 11 April 2011

    From the feedback we have had, it’s been a very successful day. We’re grateful to Harper Adams because it has been a fantastic partnership, particularly for an event like this."

    James Grischeff (more photos at bottom)

    Farmers from across England travelled to Harper Adams for a series of talks and demonstrations that should help them to turn a profit while minimising negative impacts on the environment. 

    On April 7, the Shropshire University College hosted its first Technical Field Day in conjunction with LEAF – Linking Farming And Environment – and sponsored by BOCM Pauls, DairyCo and Väderstad.

    Visitors to the “Profitable Farming and the Environment” event set off on guided tours around the Harper Adams farm, and over the course of four hours heard from a variety of experts at locations spread throughout the LEAF innovation centre.

    LEAF Chief Executive Caroline Drummond said: “Farmers are constantly juggling soil management, crop protection, pollution control, animal welfare and biodiversity. We bring all of these things together under the Integrated Farm Management (IFM) framework. So we have had a range of speakers here, talking about irrigation and the importance of water quality, about soil protection and cultivation choices, looking at carbon hoofprinting and alternatives such as anaerobic digestion. 

    “One of the important things about these Technical Field Days is actually giving farmers an opportunity to learn about things that really interest them and also pick up things that they didn’t even know they were interested in. From the feedback we have had, it’s been a very successful day. We’re grateful to Harper Adams because it has been a fantastic partnership, particularly for an event like this.”

    Harper Adams presentations included Jim Monaghan on overhead irrigation systems, who spoke at one of the trial sites on the farm; Liam Sinclair and Kenton Hart on Carbon Hoofprinting, whose studies are based at the new Harper Dairy Unit; and Alan Stewart, at the University College Pig Unit, on reducing the environmental impact of pig production.

    They were joined by Matthew Taylor from ADAS and William McManus from WRAP, who advised on the use of anaerobic digestate (biofertiliser) and compost to improve soil quality, from their base at the University College’s new anaerobic digestion plant.

    Alastair Leake, from the Allerton Project, focussed on the environmental and economic aspect of different soil cultivation techniques, using soil samples from Harper land supported by demonstrations of the Väderstad TopDown 300.

    Geoff Howe, of Natural England, made use of trail plots next to the Crops and Environment Research Centre (CERC) for his talk on integrating wildlife options for the benefits of the environment and farm business.

    A stream flowing through the farm provided samples to support Bridget Peacock, from the Riverfly Partnership and James Grischeff, from Natural England, when they presented “How good is your river? Catchment sensitive farming”. 

    Finally, Tom Allen-Stevens, from LEAF, advised the visitors on providing high quality farm visits.

    LEAF promotes environmentally responsible farming, helping farmers to produce good food, with care and to high environmental standards.

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