Soil & Water Management Centre

Developing & improving your soils

Platform news

This is the feed from news from the SWMC, NCPF and CTF Europe Centre. Only full members can add posts, so if you want to join click here
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  • 02 Jul 2018 14:08 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    Information about and registration for the 3rd International CTF conference has just been pubished. This is being held in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia from the 12th - 14th February 2019.
    The date has been particularly chosen to suit farmers in the northern hemisphere, many of whom will be biding their time before getting back onto the land. It is also a time of the year when many in northern climes will be yearning for longer, warmer days and plenty of sunshine. Hopefully Ballarat will have both.

    If you want to extend your stay, taking a detour back to Melbourne via a section of the Ocean Road is something not to be missed.

    The first International CTF conference was held in Toowoomba, Queensland in 2013 and the 2nd conference in Prague in the Czech Republic in 2015, extended details of which are available to members within the CTF pages.

  • 04 Aug 2017 08:21 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    Farmers in western Victoria considered their neighbour's crops were looking better than theirs, so they hopped over the fence to find out why. The answer lay in the soil, protected by a controlled traffic farming system along with no-till. Read this article to find out more.

  • 27 Jun 2017 12:11 | Lucy Crockford

    Launching our new Agri Topics area for Members Only.

    A collection of primary and secondary research around agri topics written by researchers in the Soil and Water Management Centre.

    First post published (free for Non Members as an introductory offer): 

    The Impact of Upland Land Management on Flooding: results from an improved pasture hillslope

  • 19 May 2017 10:16 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    The Field Robot Event is an international competition intended to promote the development of robotic systems for agriculture being held by the Engineering Department at Harper Adams University on 13 to 16 June 2017. Competitors are required to build a robot that is capable of completing a series of tasks that are typical of the type of applications field robots may be used for. This year there are four main tasks; basic navigation, advanced navigation, field mapping and crop spraying.

    For more information and registration please visit the HAU site.

  • 23 Mar 2017 09:00 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) has just announced its annual conference to be held at Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise in Hertfordshire on Wednesday 11th October 2017. The conference is for engineers, scientists and technologists, farmers, growers and those in policy and sustainable development and will explore how carbon capture and emissions from agriculture can be more closely matched.
    Visit the IAgrE website for more information and booking

  • 13 Mar 2017 11:24 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    We have just had news of another two free soil management events in Somerset. The first on 23rd March starting at 7 pm, the other on the 24th March starting at 8 am. More information and registration with the full programme can be found here.

  • 02 Mar 2017 17:10 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    Just a reminder for anyone within easy reach of mid Bedfordshire next Monday evening 6th March that we will have Dr Ron Corstanje talking about the newly formed Agri-EPI Centre. This free to attend meeting organised by the Institution of Agricultural Engineers will start at 7.30 pm, more details from this link.

  • 25 Feb 2017 16:56 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    Earlier in the month I reported on the soils element of the project on Sustainable Intensification in Horticulture Cropping Systems but mentioned that there was a controlled traffic and precision farming element. We now have a "Research snippets and catch up" page for information of this nature, so I'm placing information about that there.

  • 13 Feb 2017 08:54 | Tim Chamen (Administrator)

    Soils are in the limelight at the moment, so what better time to have a glimpse of how they are faring on a national scale. This is the aim of a project funded by AHDB assessing sustainable intensification in horticulture cropping systems.

    75 fields across England and Scotland have been surveyed, of which 76% were in horticultural production and 16% in cereal and general cropping. Predominant soil types were sandy and light silty and “medium” soils and crops included brassicas, carrots, onions, leeks, vining peas, leafy salads, asparagus and some orchard crops.

    Soil measurements were taken pre- and post-planting in both the topsoil and subsoil and included penetration resistance, bulk density and two types of visual soil assessments (VSA - see Väderstad’s topsoil guide).  Topsoil pre-planting VSA scores suggested that 45% of soils were in a “good” compared with 55% in a “moderate” condition, the latter meaning some improvement was needed. Post planting, these scores had changed surprising little, from 45% to 58% and 55% to 42% respectively. Well and moderately developed tillage pans had been reduced by only 8% from 71% to 63%, meaning that most tillage had not dealt with these adequately. On the other hand, many soils had been deep tilled when there was no evidence of a tillage pan.

    Of the 45 fields sampled for subsoil conditions, 26% were classed as “firm” pre-planting and 19% post-planting. Bulk density in the subsoil had actually increased post- compared with pre-planting, again suggesting that we are not doing too well on the subsoil issue either!

    This project also has a controlled traffic and precision farming element and we will be posting information on those in the near future.

  • 11 Feb 2017 17:21 | Lucy Crockford

    Representatives from the Soil and Water Management Centre at Harper Adams University attended a conference on Sustainable Agriculture in Indonesia in January 2017, read what they got up to here.

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