2019 Soil Farmer of the Year announced

Julian Gold has been named as the 2019 Soil Farmer of the Year.
Julian, who farms near Wantage, Oxfordshire, runs a 751 ha farm with medium silty clay loam soil. He grows a variety of arable crops on a controlled traffic system with sheep grazing cover crops and permanent pasture on-farm.
The overarching aim for the business is to increase carbon on the farm, through maximising photosynthesis of the growing crops, minimising compaction and adapting drilling to protect the soil. Julian is also involved with different on-farm research looking at understanding soil health metrics and the emissions from applying different levels and rates of inputs.
The inagural national Soil farmer of the Year competition aimed to find the best farmers and growers who were engaged with and passionate about managing their soils in a way that supports productive agriculture, biodiversity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and builds soil organic matter and carbon.
Second place was awarded to Will Blackburn from Lymn, Cheshire.
Third place was awarded to Paul Davey from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.
All three farmers will be hosting farm walks to share their experiences and advice on improving soil health. Dates and details can be found in our ‘events’ section of the website.

Young Farmer Focus: Joe Collins

Joe Collins, IfA’s Soil & Water Research Assistant, talks about his role at IfA including his work experience as part of the Cator-Gardner Scholarship in the Young Farmer Focus article in the Farmers Guardian.

To read the article, Click Here.

Evaluation Of Soil Health Following Digestate Application

Agrocycle is a EU Horizon 2020 project aiming to better understand and address waste streams associated with the agri-food industry. The AgroCycle Project aims to deliver sustainable waste valorisation pathways addressing the European policy target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. As part of this approach the project has been analyzing agri-food waste value chains, from farm-to-table, livestock and crop production, food processing and the retail sector – identifying opportunities for valorisation pathways, including: bio-fuels, high value-added biopolymers, energy and microbial fuel cells.

Some of this work has been undertaken as part of an MRes research programme at Harper Adams University in England, UK. The researcher is being funded through the Agrocycle project and Innovation for Agriculture as the industrial partner.  The work looks at the evaluation of soil health following disgestate application.

New Videos Launched To Help Farmers Improve Soil Health

A new series of practical videos to help farmers understand and improve soil health was launched at the recent Groundswell Show.

Working in partnership with Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) and Ernest Cook Trust, the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) team have produced a series of “Learning from the Land” videos.

These showase easy-to-set-up soil demonstrations that can be carried oput by farmers and land managers in their own kitchens.  The videos highlight the importance of soil health and include practical techniques to help improve the overall health of soils in the UK.

Farmers can easily see how soils work to improve crop productivity while protecting the environment and reducing soil and nutrient losses.

More Information

Stephen Briggs presenting at Bath & West Soils Conference

Stephen Briggs, IfA’s Soil & Water Manager will be presenting at the Royal Bath & West of England Society’s summer Soils Conference.

The conference is held in partnership with FWAG, Hills to Levels project and Innovation for Agriculture.

Hear from distinguished Soil Specialists on topics to include the Science of Soils, Soils & Grassland, Improving Water Quality, Using Agroforestry to Soil Advantage, as well as the success of the Hills to Levels project.

Places can be booked at: https://bathandwestsoilsconference.eventbrite.co.uk or email emma.corr@bathandwest.co.uk or telephone 01749 82212

Soil Farmer Of The Year 2018

Simon Cowell, an arable farmer from Essex has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Soil Farmer of the Year.

Angus Gowthorpe from York has been awarded second place and William Steel from Hawkhurst third place.

The competition, now in its third year is organised by the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit (FCCT) and Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) and is kindly sponsored by NRM and Cotswold Seeds.

The competition aims to find famers and growers who are engaged with, and passionate about managing their soils in a way which supports productive agriculture, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and builds soil health, organic matter and carbon.

See our events pages for details of the Farm Walks that will be hosted by the winner and two runner-up farms.

More information

Agrocycle Project

IfA is a partner of the AgroCycle project which is a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project addressing the recycling and valorisation of waste from the agri-food sector.

Led by the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at University College Dublin, the consortium of 26 partners comprises partners from 8 EU countries, two partners from mainland China, and one from Hong Kong.

The project takes a holistic approach to understanding and addressing how to make best use of the full range of waste streams associated with the agri-food industry. It will deliver the AgroCycle Protocol, a blueprint for achieving sustainable agri-food waste valorisation.

The resultant AgroCycle Protocol will deliver sustainable waste valorisation pathways addressing the European policy target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030, as well contributing to the wave of change that is occurring in China in relation to sustainability.

AgroCycle will undertake a holistic analysis of agri-food waste value chains, from farm-to-table, including livestock and crop production, food processing and the retail sector. It will address a wide range of valorisation pathways, including: bio-fuels, high value-added biopolymers, energy and microbial fuel cells.

For more details visit the Agrocycle website

Healthy Soils Workshops

Innovation for Agriculture, in partnership with Catchment Sensitive Farming, are staging Healthy Soils workshops over the country this winter.

Commencing on the 13th December in Heckfield, Basingstoke, Stephen Briggs Nuffield Scholar, and David Gardener IfA CEO, will be delivering over 20 workshops to farmers and advisors before spring.

These events are free to attend and are focusing on the options and strategies for improving soil health and the increasing popularity in growing Cover Crops.

To find out more information or to book a place on a workshop in your area, please contact the CSF Farm Events Team on 0208 026 8780.