Monday, 13 July 2015

Countryfile in Context

It was good to see Countryfile address the issue of soil sustainability on this week's programme. The health of our soil is the most important factor for our business and environmental sustainability.

The time available on the programme meant that not all issues got coverage, however some clear messages were addressed;
  • cover crops to help with structure 
  • the importance of earthworms
  • erosion
  • reduced cultivations
Filming with Tom Heap

It was an interesting few hours of filming with Tom Heap, numerous camera shots, re takes and sound bites. The audience for Countryfile is wide and varied and as such the programme addresses many, sometimes complex issues.  I have to admire the craft that goes into the final edit, mixing library footage for explanation with 'live footage' which brings our farms and countryside to life.

There were many more areas that could have been covered;
  • rotations
  • cultivation timings
  • controlled traffic
  • organic manures
  • soil's nutrient composition
  • mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial soil flora and fauna

Cover crops can help our soil, if we can get their management and cost right

The GWCT Allerton Project is always looking to develop and demonstrate practical solutions for growers and farmers. It's collaborations with numerous industry partners in the public, private and charitable sectors gives us a good understanding of the issues surrounding profitable farming and environmental responsibility. If we can address both, to create win wins, then farming and environment becomes much more cohesive.


  1. I didn't hear GWCT or the Loddington Project mentioned once. Perhaps you can persuade the programme to revisit and highlight ALL the work being done there together with the results for wildlife. Or is that too much to ask of the BBC?

    1. Difficult to control editorial content, we did try to impress on Countryfile team for some acknowledgement to both organisations

  2. I don't watch Countryfile, but The Archers, to which I do listen, has a current storyline on soil sustainability,. which is the only interesting theme in the programme at the moment. Adam is growing a herbal ley to mitigate flood damage in one of their fields, and intends to stop growing maize under contract for the local mega dairy, because it is taking too much out of the ground - all good stuff amongst a load of dross in the programme! However, the estate shoot seems to have disappeared from the plot for now!

  3. I have also come across that storyline in the last few weeks. Adam and Brian have been at loggerheads on which is the right direction. Its a dilemma facing numerous farmers in times of low produce prices. Building soil fertility has long term benefits, but I heard a grand saying the other day when one grower stated that 'he wasn't running a hotel for microbes'. Eventually they have to help pay the bills and room rental !!