Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeFarmlifeChris Bennett: Lower farmers some slack on water high quality

Chris Bennett: Lower farmers some slack on water high quality

The Environmental Audit Committee launched its Water High quality in Rivers report in mid-January, describing a “chemical cocktail” in rivers, primarily blaming agriculture and, particularly, poultry farmers.

However is it appropriate to counsel we’re extra at fault than water firms that ceaselessly and constantly dump uncooked sewage instantly into watercourses?

I fear that farmers are taking greater than their fair proportion of the blame. There appears to be a recurring theme of utilizing agriculture as a straightforward goal.

See additionally: Chris Bennett – carbon credit carry advanced selections

In regards to the writer

Chris Bennett

Rising up on a combined arable and beef farm in Lincolnshire, Chris studied physics at Oxford College earlier than deciding to return to farming. The 28-year-old has a graduate diploma in agriculture and is farming in Wakanui, on the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand.

It echoes the blaming of cows, as an alternative of fossil fuels, for local weather change.

It’s simple guilty a lowly rooster farmer forward of a robust water firm, even when these firms are allowed to self-monitor and are identified to underreport sewage discharge.

Get the stability proper

Whether or not or not the report is honest, as farmers, we have to up our recreation in relation to holding vitamins on the farm.

Let’s not overlook that the leached nitrogen and phosphorus, the primary culprits, are useful – particularly this yr with fertiliser costs being so excessive.

Practices inspired within the Sustainable Farming Incentive might assist; cowl crops over winter are identified to stop leaching, and soil testing helps to higher goal inputs.

Buffer strips round watercourses, together with improved muck and slurry storage and utility, could also be options.

All of those modifications have a monetary value and, with farm profitability the way in which it’s, farmers should be reduce a bit slack. As they are saying, “it’s laborious to be inexperienced while you’re within the purple”.

I lately heard a New Zealand farmer examine farming to doing a Rubik’s Dice.

With a easy twist, you will get a sq. to the facet you need it, however you danger messing up an entire lot of different stuff within the course of.

Farmers can handle vitamins to restrict water air pollution, but when profitability is such that they go bust within the course of, it’s not a viable choice.

Let’s hope that, as with a Rubik’s Dice, there’s a good resolution that may fulfill all sides.



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