Field Lab: Fertility Building Leys – Third Meeting
The Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme involves farmers across the country in developing innovative techniques and best practice, aimed at improving productivity, quality and environmental performance in organic and low-input agriculture.
At the heart of this activity are a network of on-farm events called Field Labs, led by farmers and growers, where they can share their know-how, design field experiments and pinpoint practical challenges. These will shape the priorities for a new research fund, which will target key barriers to sustainable farming and food systems.
What will this field lab look at?
The field lab will explore the use of different fertility building approaches using legumes and other plant species.The Leg Link research project has shown the potential for a major change in forage seed mixtures towards more diverse swards including specific legume species. The field lab will provide the opportunity to assess the use of diverse mixtures on commercial farms.
The event will be held at : Abbey Home Farm, Burford Road, Cirencester GL7 5HF
Contact Mark Measures 07887 746524 with any queries regarding this event
John Newman (Abbey Home Farm manager), Richard Morris (Wimpole farm manager) and Mark Measures (Facilitator)
10.45 Summary of farmer experiences to date
11.00 Fertility Building Leys and Green Manures – what’s new?
11.30 Farm walk to see Abbey Home Farm diverse mixtures sown spring 2014.
- How did Abbey Home Farm decide which species to grow?
- Visit Red Clover diverse mixture and White Clover diverse mixture.
- Visit and report on the OSCAR trials
- Species identification, cover and yield assessment
- Farmer field trials protocols
2.00 Research results on the use, persistence, feed value and yield of trefoil.
We will also look at benefits of diverse mixtures for yield, tannins and trace elements.
Alan Hopkins (Independent grassland adviser)
2.40 Designing mixtures
3.00 Discussion and final conclusions of the Fertility Building Leys and Green Manures Field labs
4.00 Tea and finish
The ORC Leg Link research project shows the potential for a major change in forage seed mixtures towards more diverse swards including specific legume species. Informed by research from IGER North Wyke and recent field research on crop yields at Reading University this series of 3 Field Labs will help you select mixtures for your farm:
• Characteristics and selection of legume species including red and white clover, lucerne, black medic, trefoil, crimson clover and sainfoin
• The importance of including grass species
• Use of diverse mixtures for fertility building in arable rotations
• Prepare for new Defra support for diverse mixtures in 2016
When & Where
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between farming practice and plant, animal, human and environmental health.
Today, we are the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. We have over 150 staff based in Bristol and Edinburgh and working as certification inspectors across the country. The Soil Association's Chief Executive is Helen Browning, who reports to the Council of Trustees.