Annual Winter Conference
Organised by the Soil & Water Management Centre
(conference repeated on 21st November in Essex. See Soil & Water Management Centre’s events page for more details)
5 BASIS and NRoSO points applied for
09.30 Registration and refreshments
10.00 Soil Security
Speaker: Professor Chris Collins, Reading University
How can we secure our supply of food using less land with lower inputs? Chris is the co-ordinator of a multi-million euro research investment to understand how soils resist, recover and ultimately adapt to land use and climate change. The Soil Security Programme hopes to fill these knowledge gaps by adopting a novel, multi-disciplinary, multi-scale approach.
10.30 Sustainable Soil Management
Speaker: TBC, AHDB
Soil physics, chemistry and biology are all interlinked but soil biology is not that well understood. AHDB have co-funded a five-year research and knowledge exchange programme to address the issue. Hear about their programme that aims to inspire and support growers in assessing and managing the health of their soils and the development of a toolkit that helps them to do so.
11.20 Crop nutrients – knowns & unknowns, dos and don'ts
Speakers: Prof Roger Sylvester-Bradley, ADAS
Roger will emphasise the wealth of information on the dozen essential crop nutrients, major, minor and micro; those that are deficient or plentiful, mobile or immobile, volatile or stable, damaging or benign. And he will advocate a more forensic, targeted, site-specific approach to their management, exploiting new monitoring techniques and recycled materials.
11.50 Protecting soil, water and air
Speaker: Steven Bailey and Jonathan Skidmore, Natural England CSF
Practical techniques to reduce soil and nutrient losses from farming – farmers working with the Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership to improve water and air quality.
13.00 Commercial & practical session
This session will show the wealth of wildlife that exists in soils and how best to protect it by appropriate cultivation and by setting tyre pressures to maximise efficiency and reduce compaction. (HAU, Kverneland, Fendt & Trelleborg)
14.15 Farmer Case Studies from the locality
Angus Gowthorpe, winner of the 2018 Soil Farmer of the Year, runs a mixed farm on widely varying soil types. Angus has moved from ploughing through strip till to no-till and introduced a more diverse rotation, using herbal leys, cover and companion crops all to improve soil health. He is now trialing soil additives and integrated pest and disease management.
Joe Dugdale, Crathorne Farms, Yarm. (More info shortly)
14.45 Agrocycle/Horizon 20/20
Speakers: Dr Simon Jeffery (HAU) and Andrew Richards (Agrii)
Simon and Andrew will report on an EU funded project that’s been looking at the impact of organic wastes on soil and plant health.
15.15 Discussion/closing session