The Welland Arable Business Group was formed in 2015. Its members have a wide range of business types including various forms of tenure, a range of farm sizes, and some representation of livestock in the predominently arable systems.
|Economic benchmarking stimulates discussion about the dependence of our businesses on the environment|
Soil is the most fundamental resource of most farm businesses and one of the messages to come out of our discussions within the group is that we need to improve our management of it. The drive for ever larger machinery, combined with more frequent intense winter rains, and a decline in soil organic matter, all contribute to deteriorating soil conditions and reduce our capacity for both economic and environmental sustainability.
|Soil Organic Matter (%) on farms in the upper Welland river basin|
Our new EU funded SoilCare research project provides an opportunity for us to explore, with local farmers, new approaches to soil management that could help to improve farm profitability, while also delivering public benefits such as improved water quality, and reduced flood risk, all work that links neatly with our other ongoing research projects.
|Members taking part in the prioritisation process for soil management research|
Group members are not passive recipients of the research results, but have an active role from the start. In fact, it is the farmers who are setting the research agenda by identifying and prioritising the areas of greatest relevance and interest to their businesses. Farmers will continue to be actively engaged in the research as it develops. This approach ensures that the research we carry out as the UK site in this European project will also be relevant to other farmers across much of lowland England.