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Top tips for farmers in agricultural calendar from the Lancaster Environment Centre

12/05/2012 00:00:00
​A thousand 2013 calendars are to be distributed to farmers in Cumbria as part of a scheme to reduce agricultural water pollution.

The Catchment Change Network (CCN) at the University's Lancaster Environment Centre has worked in partnership with the farmers and the Eden Rivers Trust to disseminate top tips about how to reduce water pollution from agriculture through the 2013 calendar.

Water pollution from agriculture is a serious issue. Professor Phil Haygarth of LEC said: “Most of our UK land surface is under agriculture and the nutrients, manures and soils can leak into rivers, lakes and estuaries.  The effect is the build-up of sediment, undesirable toxic algae and sometimes pathogens.”

Presenting the tips as a calendar will help spread the word about agricultural best practice to busy farmers and land managers by providing information written by their peers in a quick, easy to read format.

Each month includes a top tip recommending solutions to agricultural diffuse pollution by paying attention to farm infrastructure and the management of soil, livestock, fertiliser and manure. The tips were developed as part of the CNN guidelines on reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture.

Each top tip, for example on fencing off rivers and streams from livestock,  is accompanied by a quote from a Cumbrian farmer on how they have benefited from implementing the tip.

Dairy Farmer Tony Jackson from Newby said: “Fencing off streams has made our farm easier to manage on a day-to-day basis, whilst helping to improve the quality of the river.”

And Stephen Carruthers, a pig, beef and arable farmer from Newby, said of the tip about slurry: “Soil is the farm’s most important asset –managing manure and slurry responsibly helps keep the soil in good heart without harming the river.”

The calendar was compiled by Lancaster Environment Centre’s Phil Haygarth, Marion Walker, Eleanor Mackay, Will Cleasby and former LEC intern, Anna Sellars. The 12 photos were taken by Lancaster Environment Centre’s Clare Benskin, Keith Beven and Phil Haygarth and are all of local Cumbria scenes.

Will Cleasby, Eden Rivers Trust, said: "We hope it will help to show farmers that reducing water pollution is good for business as well as helping to look after our rivers and streams.”

A thousand of the calendars have been printed, half of which will be sent directly to Cumbrian farmers through the Eden Rivers Trust, the rest distributed through the CCN network to partners, such as United Utilities and Northumbrian Water, and catchment management policy makers, such as Defra, The Environment Agency and Catchment Sensitive Farmers.

There are a limited number available for free on request. The top tips and a wealth of information on reducing water pollution from agriculture will be also available next year in the form of an online toolkit.

CCN is a 3 year NERC-funded knowledge exchange network that concluded this November, but the knowledge gained through the network is being expanded and developed as part of the new Catchment Change Management Hub. For more details and to get involved contact the CCN/CCM Hub Facilitator: Marion Walker Tel: +44 (0)1524 510290