By Amelia Woolford, Project Development Officer, The Allerton Project.
The Allerton Project were pleased to host this year’s annual Produce World ‘Grower Day’ to share farming and technical information.
Produce World grow and supply quality, fresh vegetables over 20,000acres for the European food service. The aim of the day was focused around sharing ‘The Allerton Approach’. This is focused around Integrated Farm Management (IFM) starting in the field with soil health, enforcing necessary environmental mitigation and connecting the surrounding local landscape.
The Allerton Staff guided a series of farm tours facilitating expert to expert advice and discussion. Dr. Leake demonstrated the importance of soil structure for a healthy crop and the impacts of compaction from farm machinery on yield. The growers were able to see the improvement in soil structure over a 7 year period changing from a conventional ploughing system to minimum tillage and 2 years of direct drilling.
Dr. Felicity Crotty and Chris Stoate, with the aid of our wormery, showed how a variety of earthworms work through the layers of soil, moving organic matter down the horizons improving drainage and soil structure.
Responsible pesticide use and the value of pollinators was the final key topic of the day. Farmer Phil and Jim Egan talked through the range of environmental risks that can ensue within the farmyard and spillage of pesticides. The growers were shown the biobed as a viable option to consider within sprayer operations and preventing water contamination.
Finally, the growers were able to view habitat management for pollinators and how this can be included within productive farming businesses.
Upon return to the visitors centre an informative discussion took place highlighting practices that may be applicable on the grower’s farms. Many thanks to Launde Farm Foods for the bacon rolls and lamb roast.
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