20 farmers this week from the Tavy and Tamar catchments got together at Hurlditch Farm, Lamerton near Tavistock to exchange information about grassland and soil management to maximise profitability and improve water quality in the river. Tony and Jenny Boon of Hurlditch Farm kindly hosted the “Soils Alive” event which was organised by Martin Harmer of the Westcountry Rivers Trust leading the 3Rivers Water Environment Improvement Fund initiative with the Environment Agency. The event was also supported by the AHDB (Agriculture & Horticultural Development Board).

The guest speaker for the day was ruminant nutritionist and grassland specialist Luppo Diepenbroek, who engaged the farmers with practical tips and advice for improving productivity such as resting the soil adequately between grazing, encouraging worms and nutrient uptake with applications of lime to raise soil PH, and including herbs and legumes in the sward for their soil structuring capabilities. This helps retain nutrients in the soil and reduce erosion and run-off.

Martin Harmer of Westcountry Rivers Trust said “ By utilising soil testing results and using small grassland management changes such as reseeding with diverse herbal leys it is possible to improve productivity and protect watercourses. Improving soil biology and structure  is a win-win  for both farm profits and the environment”. Martin also introduced the new government rules for farming and water coming in to effect on April 2nd and also advised farmers of local water quality improvement grant availability together with  free soil testing provided by Westcountry Rivers Trust.]

For further information on initiatives available in your catchment to support farming and water quality, contact:

Tavy &Tamar Martin Harmer 07375 087105 [email protected]

Tamar & Taw Ross Cherrington 07815 291147 [email protected]

Dart Annabel Martin 07805 773932 [email protected]

Otter Yog Watkins 07854 145896 [email protected]

Exe John Hickey 07807 290399 [email protected]

Fowey Giles Rickard 07725 237106 [email protected]