|King Canute? No Farmer Phil trying to get the water away!|
Skip forward nearly a thousand years and 2012 feels a bit the same. You can fill in the SPR, you can reduce cultivations, use low ground pressure tyres, cultivate across certain slopes and use Environmental Stewardship to buffer watercourses..... but if it just rains and rains like the last 9 months then flooding, soil slump and erosion become massive issues.
At the Allerton Project we have spent many years looking at soil and water issues, it would be easy to do dismiss the SPR as a useless and bureaucratic process. This year, the process of filling in three separate reviews has concentrated my mind on further improvements that we need to transfer from 'form to field'.
|Water flowing through 'paired ponds'|
|Automatic water samplers working overtime|
As I walked around the farm over the last few days looking at the problems in front of me........
|Sediment settles on a buffer strip|
- Ditches - Silt and debris cleared from key points around the farm
- Drains - No doubt we have done some serious damage with our combine this year, so we have drains to repair. Could be interesting deciding whether its a drain or a spring !!!
- Tracks on the combine and review of tyres on all machines especially those of our straw contractors
- Reduce our cultivations further.
- More straw and organic matter into our soils
- More mole ploughing over gravelled drains
And finally.... if you want a simple guide to what's what in Soil Management, this isn't a bad starting place. (Click on picture below)