A free of charge workshop was held at Barbers Livestock Auction,
Market Drayton on Thursday 28 June with 14 farmers taking advantage
of the specialist computer advisers on hand to help them get
on top of the paperwork surrounding the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones
(NVZ) legislation and Cross Compliance.
Left ro right, Pat Pimlott - Staffordshire Rural Hub Co-ordinator, Berni Hutchinson, Managing Partner, Barbers with ADAS Soil Scientists Tony Lloyd and Sheila Royle.
The ‘top tips’ of the day, were: ‘use
the free of charge PLANET software, be sure of your maths and
generate the paperwork for inspections at the same time’.
The seminar was the first joint venture for ADAS, Barbers and
two of the West Midlands region’s five Rural Hubs; Staffordshire
and Shropshire. “It is another example of the trend to deliver
bite-sized amounts of information to farmers that address issues
surrounding new or amended legislation in suitable and convenient
locations for rural businesses,” says Staffordshire Rural
Hub's co-ordinator, Pat Pimlott.
Barbers has built up a reputation of excellence within the livestock
industry. With their purpose-built offices, and rural workspaces
supporting many firms who trade from the Wednesday auction, Berni
Hutchinson of Barbers is keen to use the premises to support the
industry in as many ways as possible. Following a meeting with
the Rural Hub it became obvious that some of the facilities could
easily double as a seminar area, and be a natural venue for events
for farmers to attend.
"The venue is ideally situated on the Staffordshire/Shropshire
border," says Pat Pimlott, "With the move towards collaboration
within the industry, it was natural that Victoria Jones of the
Shropshire Rural Hub and myself could support events at Market
Drayton for the benefit of both counties.”
“Barbers and the Rural Hubs are very excited about working
together,” says Pat. The first joint event was run by ADAS
as part of the Defra-funded Environment Sensitive Farming project. “It
proved to be an excellent training programme and exceeded all expectations
for all attendees,” enthused Pat. “The training was
on how to use PLANET, the free software package that helps farmers
keep track of how much natural nitrogen is being applied to fields
so that they can keep records for the legislative agencies,” she
"We were all able to take advantage of the one-to-one help
and advice and load the software, and Sheila Royle and Tony Lloyd
of ADAS helped us put a few fields into the system with different
crops and fertilisers. I could really see the benefit of
such training to help farmers keep on top of their record keeping
in an easy and systematic way. The huge benefit of PLANET is that
all the information can be used to forecast nutrient requirements
for fields and crops, and be revised retrospectively, therefore
enabling information to be entered at a time that suits the farmer.
However, the loudest cheer was heard when we pressed a button,
and a report was generated for NVZ records."
Tony Turner of ADAS is the Environment Sensitive Farming Regional
Coordinator for the West Midlands. “We have been running
a series of seminars to help farmers use PLANET which is short
for Planning Land Application of Nutrients for Efficiency and the
environmenT,” he explained. “These workshops are helping
farmers use the software to calculate the nutrients they are adding
to the land on a field-by-field basis. PLANET takes the strain
out of doing the maths and so reduces the chances of farmers over-applying
nutrients to any one field and possibly polluting a ditch or stream.”
Protecting the environment and preventing pollution are now as
essential to farming's future as good agronomic and husbandry skills.
Participating in the Environment Sensitive Farming project will
help farmers meet Cross Compliance requirements, save on inputs
and make the most of Environmental Stewardship opportunities at
the same time as preventing pollution. All the advice on nutrient,
manure, soil, pesticide and waste management is FREE and it comes
from some of the country's most respected technical experts.
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