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Stranraer Venue for Slurry & Soil Management Event

An event planned for Colfin Farm, Lochans, Stranraer will give worried local farmers the chance to consider how to restore the condition of their soils after 18 months of wet weather.

Until it broke recently the dry spell everyone in the south west had enjoyed offered a welcome opportunity for soils in the area to begin to dry out and for local farmers to begin thinking about repairing the damage so much rain has done over a prolonged period.

Slurry Tanker

photo © www.farm-images.co.uk

A lot of damage was done last summer when rainfall was double the normal. The mild moist Wigtownshire climate makes it ideal for growing the grass dairy farmers need to feed their cows. However too much rain is counterproductive as saturated soil has none of the air between its particles a healthy structure needs. Meanwhile the cows’ feet and silage making machinery all do their bit to create ruts and destroy soil structure through compaction.

At the Colfin event on Tuesday 26th March ( courtesy of the McWilliam family) Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) will join their SAC Consulting colleagues in offering sessions on improving soil structure, drainage techniques and ways to reduce compaction. It will be timely advice.

In a series of presentations and practical sessions those attending the free event will consider the crucial questions of maintaining the farm drainage systems led by Seamus Donnelly Senior Area Consultant who has completed a series of Drainage meetings throughout SW Scotland with over 500 farmers attending.

“It indicates the keen interest farmers have in the topic just now”, he says. “But there is also a huge benefit to the wider community from addressing drainage issues, whether by reducing the risk of flooding in nearby villages or reducing the Carbon Footprint of local farms. Waterlogged soils give off higher emissions of Nitrous Oxide, one of the main contributory gases to Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

In previous years funding assistance was available for drainage work, not so now, however there is some expectation that this may return given the importance of maintaining local food production.

According to Dumfries based SRUC Grassland researcher Dr Paul Hargreaves:

“With fertiliser costs spiralling the old strategy of using them to boost crop yields and mask soil problems no longer makes sense.”

He will use the Stranraer event to highlight the results of a Compaction Trial carried out at Crichton, Dumfries.

“Good drainage and soil structure are vital. There is a range of equipment available to help deal with compaction which we will focus on so that farmers can decide what works best for their farm. They will also be able to see a few aerators and soil lifters at the event”.

Hugh McClymont (SRUC Farms Manager at Dumfries) will explain how manages the slurry from the 550 cow dairy herd at Crichton Royal to reduce the need for expensive artificial fertiliser. He will also talk about the new Slurry Separation system installed and how to select crops which make the optimum use of slurry. Local SAC Consultant, Alison Clark will highlight new PLANET software and the SlurryMax service available to maximise the use of the on-farm nutrients in slurry.

Equally important are the disease and conservation issues caused by waterlogging or flooding. These conditions favour the water snails that are important in the life cycle of the liver-fluke parasite which can do so much damage to sheep flocks and young stock. Likewise if unused nutrients like slurry or soil particles get washed into drains and watercourses farmers risk prosecution for breaking strict environmental regulations Tim Kneale will highlight the most recent changes to SEPA Guidelines for Ditch cleaning and also spreading distances for slurry/fertiliser.

All farmers are welcome to attend the free event , with a light lunch will be available. To help us plan catering arrangements, please register with Judy Graham in the Stranraer Office on 01776 702649.

Scotland’s Rural College acknowledges the support of Scottish Government for this event through their Climate Change and Pollution Prevention Activities.

SRUC

   
  Related Links
link Precision Farming Event 2013
link Northumberland County Show Young Sheep Handlers
link Auchincruive Venue for Soil Drainage Event
   


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