Soil & Water Management Centre

Developing & improving your soils

Farming in the Extremes

  • 02 Dec 2020
  • 09:30 - 16:00
  • The Web

Farming in the Extremes

Kindly sponsored by BASF 4 BASIS points have been allocated to this conference

Registration page


Soil & Water 2020 will be an on-line conference designed to help farmers, advisors, educationalists and agronomists understand more about soils and how to make them more resilient to extremes of weather.

Guy Smith, the conference chair and Essex farmer will introduce the day and set the scene by describing the actions he takes to sustain his crops in one of the driest regions in the country.

Dr Simon Jeffery from Harper Adams University will then provide some basic facts about how our climate is changing and to what extent and what this means for UK agriculture.

Dr Rebecca Wheeler from the University of Exeter will then run through the results of a survey of the perceptions of land managers and farmers to the subject of climate change and how they consider they can adapt and respond to it.

Capturing carbon in soils is considered to be one of the most effective approaches to building soil resilience and Becky Wilson from Duchy College and a Nuffield Scholar, will describe practical measures to achieve this while reducing the risk of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Al Brooks, farm manager on the Faccombe Estate in Hampshire will then run through carbon auditing as a means of establishing a farm’s carbon footprint.

Professor Pyewell from CEH will then describe a web-based tool designed to help farmers decide the relative suitability of different fields for introducing water resource protection, woodland creation, winter bird food and flower-rich pollinator habitats.

Flood mitigation options in the event of extreme rain will be described by Chris Stoate, head of research at The Allerton Project and formerly honorary professor at Sheffield University. Chris's activities are based on the premise that integrating environmental objectives with agricultural ones is not just a cultural ideal; it is central to meeting current and future challenges of climate change, resource depletion, and increasing population growth and consumption.

Hannah Fawcett, who is both a farmer and advisor, will then take up the banner by describing how natural measures can be brought to bear on flood management. Ian Wilkinson of Dunkirk Farm, Durham, will show how soil resilience can be built to mitigate excess rain by introducing "regenerative farming". This is a rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems focussing on topsoil regeneration through carbon capture.

Some soils need to be repaired before regenerative approaches can be used effectively and Professor Dick Godwin of Harper Adams University will describe the most effective approaches using different types and depths of tillage according to soil moisture conditions.

Finally, Robin Gaymer of Mentmore Park Farm will describe how a flexible approach to crop establishment enables him to sustain his farm and contracting business, responding as he does to prevailing conditions rather than using a standard methodology.

 To find out more and make a booking, please visit the Harper Adams Event page

Here is the programme for the day:

9.30 am start – Guy Smith, chairman – introduction to the day plus his take on farming in the dry

Session sponsored by Burleigh Dodds

Burleigh Dodds are offering two free copies of their book:

Advances in Conservation Agriculture Volume 2: Practice and Benefits and Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture Volume 1: Fundamentals

If you are interested in winning one of these, you will have the opportunity of entering a draw on the day of the conference.

9.50 am – Climate Change how do we define it and what does it mean for UK Agriculture – Dr Simon Jeffery HAU 

10.15 am Climate change and extreme weather – perceptions and adaptive responses among farmers and land managers - Dr Rebecca Wheeler –University of Exeter 

10.45 am Discussion 

11.00 am Break 

11.15 am Practical farm measures for reducing greenhouse gases and capturing carbon– Becky Wilson – Duchy College 

11.45 am Reducing the farm carbon footprint with carbon auditing – Al Brooks – Estate Manager, Faccombe Estate, Hants 

12.05 pm – Using soil data to plan environmental management on farms: the ASSIST E-Planner tool. – Prof Richard Pyewell, CEH  

12.35 pm Discussion 

12.50 pm Lunch 

1.20 pm – Farming with extreme rain – Flood mitigation work – Chris Stoate- Game Conservancy/ University of Sheffield 

1.50 pm – Farming with Natural Flood Management – Hannah Fawcett, Farmer and CSFO/Farm Adviser for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority  

2.10 pm Building soil resilience to mitigate excess rain with regenerative farming – Ian Wilkinson – farm Manager – Dunkirk Farm Co. Durham 

2.30 pm Discussion 

2.40 pm Break 

Session sponsored by Fendt

2.50 pm Using steel – where it still has an important role in raising soil resilience – Prof Dick Godwin 

3.20 pm – farmer case study - Why maintaining a flexible approach to crop establishment is critical for my business – Robin Gaymer – Mentmore Park Farm- farmer and contractor Beds 

3.40 pm – Panel discussion and concluding remarks - Chairman 

4.00 pm Finish 


Site Admin: Tim Chamen
t: 01525 405121/Mob 07714 206048

Events organiser: Tim Chamen
t: 01525 405121 m: 07714 206048

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