Fieldwise - Page 1

MAY 2018
More focus
on soil is root
to success
Farmers attending the inaugural Alnwick Farmer Conference
have heard how more must be done to tackle the issues
around soil health before it is too late or legislative
restrictions are imposed.
Hutchinsons technical manager
Dick Neale warned that groups
such as the Sustainable Soils
Alliance, which is dominated by
green and organic organisations,
were becoming more vocal with
policymakers and the farming
industry had to take greater
responsibility for soil health,
or face tighter regulations.
“Soil degradation is a real issue that’s
climbing the political agenda. Farmers
must understand the science of soil
management so they can help steer
future policy direction and protect this
vital asset.”
That was echoed by Northumberland
agronomist Tom Whitfield:
“We need to change the way soil
health is perceived and ensure
everyone is fully engaged before
we’re forced to accept legislation
that’s been dictated by others.”
term thinking
Dick Neale
Hazel Leah
Soil degradation took various forms,
from nutrient depletion and compaction
to erosion. It was exacerbated in some
areas by a trend towards later drilling
for grassweed control or increased
maize in the rotation that left ground
exposed for longer, Mr Neale said.
Added impetus for change was
coming from the EU Water Framework
Directive, with water companies keen
to tackle problems associated with
nitrate and phosphate losses from
farmland, Northumbrian Water’s
Hazel Leah added.
Continue overleaf >>>
As Hutchinson’s celebrates its 80th
year, it has caused me to reflect on
my own 35 years in the industry.
In all that time there has only been one
constant and that has been change.
From frequent CAP reforms to constant
technological change in the way we
produce crops and for me, that has
presented challenges and opportunities
to learn, adapt and progress.
In recent years nature has
increasingly forced our hand in the
need to change and adapt.
Continue overleaf >>>

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