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Organic Dairy Farm Hosting Soil and Biodiversity Conference


An organic dairy farm in north Wales is hosting a specialised seminar on how soil and biodiversity should fit into future schemes.

Farmers heading to the Ty Newydd Organic Dairy Farm, Trefnant on May 9th will be invited to put forward their thoughts on what future schemes focusing on delivering public goods need to offer them to deliver increased biodiversity and improve the health of their soils.

Leading the talks are four experts from The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Wales (GWCT), a scientific-research based organisation.

Dr Alastair Leake, GWCT director of policy and Allerton Project, will focus on soils and GWCT’s book The Soil and Water Balance – The Science Behind Soil Friendly Farming. It’s a detailed guide on how farming can adapt to the challenges it currently faces through years of research carried out at the Trust’s Allerton Project. A copy will be given to everyone attending.

Dr Dave Parish, head of GWCT Scotland’s farm research team, will review the Trust’s work undertaken on the ecology of farmland birds in grass dominated areas and describe the current and future research being undertaken at its demonstration farm Auchnerran, Aberdeenshire.

Head of lowland gamebird research at GWCT, Dr Rufus Sage will be reviewing his most recent work which suggests, for the first time, that in grassland areas, there are more birds in the summer, even though game crops have gone.

And Sue Evans, who is GWCT’s director of Wales, will lead discussions on informing government with farmers’ ideas for what they would like to see contained within future schemes.

Sue said:

“It’s really important that farmers put their thoughts forward with regards to what future schemes need to include if we are going to successfully deliver improved biodiversity and soil health.  Dairy farmers in the past have rarely engaged with environmental schemes so future schemes need to present opportunities for every farmer to deliver public goods.  From the science-based research carried out by GWCT on our own demonstration farms, we are well-placed to help design future schemes.”

Ant Griffith and Rhodri Ellis will speak about their 500 cow dairy system which they are intending to expand with a further 300 cows while looking forward to opportunities and concerns for future farming. They will then lead a farm walk to look at areas on the farm where there may be opportunities to deliver public goods in the future.

The conference runs from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Tickets, which are selling fast, cost £15. The price includes lunch, refreshments, The Soils & Water balance book and a farm walk.

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