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UK agriculture in the future will be directed towards a more sustainable farming system. However, there is a need to understand, identify and assess the potential benefits of conservation agriculture and challenges it poses for adoption to be successful.

"As the agricultural industry changes, we want to support our growers with advice on how to manage farms in a sustainable way. Conservation Agriculture may provide us with a chance to reduce costs, improve soil health and develop a sustainable farming system to maintain or possibly improve farm profitability and food security whilst supporting wider biodiversity and protecting natural resources.”
- Belinda Bailey, Sustainable Farming Manager

Belinda Bailey

Our project

- Focusing on three different cultivation systems at field scale
- European project lasting 5 years
- 5 countries across different soil types
- 8,400 data points across 2 sites over 5 years in the UK, to understand different farming systems and impacts on: productivity, profitability, field operations, agronomy, sustainability
- Working alongside farmers, researchers and industry specialists to understand the complexity and riskiness of the systems to provide advice for sustainable farming adoption

Conservation agriculture project assessments

Trialing three farming systems

Good"GOOD" based on conventional Good Agricultural Practice, e.g. inversion tillage & winter crops in rotation

Better“BETTER” similar but introduces better practices, e.g. full non-inversion tillage, spring crops and cover crops 

Best“BEST” similar to “better” but now going to no-tillage and direct drilling for crop establishment

 

Andy Barr Phil Jarvis

About the trials sites

Trial at Loddington

in conjunction with GWCT and NIAB

  • Heavy land site
  • 5 fields split 3 ways to cover each scenario
  • 5 year rotation: Hyvido-OSR-WW-S Beans/Peas-WW

Watch Farmer Phil discuss why he is involved in the project and his learnings from the first season.

 

Trial in Kent

in conjunction with NIAB

  • Light land site
  • 4 fields split 3 ways to cover each system
  • 5 year rotation: WW-SB-S Beans-WW-OSR