Farming in the extremes – Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

The last twelve months has been very difficult for many growers, a wet autumn curtailed much of 2019’s winter cropping plans followed by a very dry spring which throttled yield potential for this past harvest. The Soil and Water Management Centres annual conference, which this year is virtual, is a timely opportunity to reconsider resilience to extreme weather.

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9.30 am start – Guy Smith, chairman – introduction  plus Guy’s take on farming in the dry

9.50 am – Climate Change how do we define it and what does it mean for UK Agriculture? – Simon Jeffery – Harper Adams University

10.15 am Climate change and extreme weather – perceptions and adaptive responses among farmers and land managers – Rebecca Wheeler –University of Exeter

10.45 am Discussion

11.00 am Break

11.15 am Practical farm measures for reducing greenhouse gases and capturing carbon– Becky Wilson – Duchy College

11.45 am Reducing the farm carbon footprint with carbon auditing – Al Brooks – Estate Manager, Faccombe Estate, Hants

12.05 pm – Using soil data to plan environmental management on farms: the ASSIST E-Planner tool. – Prof Richard Pyewell, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
The ASSIST Environmental Planner is a free web-based tool that provides farmers with access to detailed environmental data on their farms to support improved decision-making. The tool combines data on soils, topography, nearby habitats and landscape features to determine the relative suitability of the majority of Britain’s fields for four management options: water resource protection, woodland creation, winter bird food and flower-rich pollinator habitats. Suitability of each option is presented in easy to explore heat maps for the chosen farmland area.

12.35 pm Discussion

12.50 pm Lunch

1.20 pm – Farming with extreme rain – Flood mitigation work – Chris Stoate- Game Conservation and Wildlife Trust/ University of Sheffield

1.50 pm – Farming with Natural Flood Management – Hannah Fawcett, farmer and Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer/Farm Adviser for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority 

2.10 pm Building soil resilience to mitigate excess rain with regenerative farming – Ian Wilkinson – farm manager – Dunkirk Farm, Co. Durham

2.30 pm Discussion

2.40 pm Break

2.50 pm Using steel – where it still has an important role in raising soil resilience – Dick Godwin

3.20 pm – Farmer case study – Why maintaining a flexible approach to crop establishment is critical for my business – Robin Gaymer – Mentmore Park Farm- farmer and contractor Beds

3.40 pm – Panel discussion and concluding remarks – Chairman

4.00 pm Finish