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Potential of no-till systems for arable farming

Posted 21 October 2014

Professor Dick Godwin - presented with an honorary doctorate in 2012

Professor Dick Godwin - presented with an honorary doctorate in 2012

The potential of no-till arable systems in the UK is the subject of a specialist report to be launched at Harper Adams University next month, commissioned by The Worshipful Company of Farmers.

Due to his expertise within the subject, visiting Professor in Agricultural Engineering, Professor Dick Godwin, was asked by The Worshipful Company of Farmers to produce a 30-page literature review and consultation document.

As well as high energy costs, tillage for arable crops can lead to a loss of soil nutrients, decreased water storage capability and increased soil erosion and nitrous oxide emissions.

Professor Godwin will present the potential of no-till systems from an economic and environmental perspective, to an audience on November 4. This will be followed by a question and answer forum and live demonstration session.

Professor Godwin, working on behalf of the Soil and Water Management Centre at Harper Adams, said: “My report assesses the potential for no-till arable systems in the UK, by reviewing national and international literature, and by consulting a with a number of UK farmers who have already adopted no-till practices.

“My research has shown that no-till practices can offer significant potential operational, economic, soil and environmental benefits for the UK.

“However, this comes with a number of challenges for improved management, many of which are being successfully addressed by current practitioners.

“Further research and development is required to address the control of grass weeds, slugs and snails, and to further improve the operation of equipment in wet soils with high residue loads.”

Following Professor Godwin’s presentation, he will be joined by the farmers featured in the report for a question and answer session.
 
Presentations will be given by Harper Adams’ Professor Shane Ward on soils and water management, and Professor Simon Blackmore on developments in mechanisation.

The day will conclude with a series of demonstrations, including Vaderstad’s Spirit disc drill and Seed Hawk tine drill, Michelin’s low-pressure tyre system and Controlled Traffic Farming by CTF Europe.

Vice Chairman of the Education Committee of The Worshipful Company of Farmers and event chairman, Professor David Leaver, said: “The Worshipful Company of Farmers instigated this report as a part of its role in promoting farming and encouraging excellence through its significant support for education and research.

“The Company facilitates debate on key farming issues and considers that new technology in arable farming will be required to deliver the necessary sustainable intensification.”

To register to attend this free event and for more information, visit http://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/events/event.cfm?event=201222

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