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Practical solutions to British farming’s biggest challenges at Soil & Water LIVE 2012

Increasingly unpredictable climates mean food production is more challenging than ever before, making a united and innovative approach to managing resources vital for the whole industry.

Soil & Water LIVE, the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s new technical conference, aims to help producers manage soil and water on their farm, and look ahead to how they may tackle long term issues around their most vitals inputs.

Bringing together experts to discuss some of the most innovative solutions and technologies on offer, the full day’s programme at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire on Tuesday 13 November will help farmers meet the challenges both now and in the future.

Sponsored by Barclays Business banking, the event will look at the practical steps farmers from across the agricultural sector can take to help limit and reverse the effects of soil degradation.

Workshops will include advice on improving soil structure to retain water and build fertility, while international experts will be on hand to explain how new technology such as GPS can help improve drainage and maximise your soil’s potential.

The benefits of investing in water storage, from farm reservoirs to sharing supplies with neighbours, and the effects of managing grassland to improve livestock productivity will also be discussed during the one-day event.

South Lincolnshire farmer and columnist Matthew Naylor, who will be closing the conference, says the opportunity to bring the entire sector together to find practical ways to make a difference is one farmers cannot afford to miss.

As a potato and flower grower on silt land reclaimed from the sea, he says he knows more than anyone that UK farmers should not take their water for granted.

“With high-value, intensive crops and a low availability of fresh water, we have to think quite intelligently about how we use it,” he says.

“But it doesn’t matter if your farm is flat or on a hillside, or if you are using water for flowers or dairy cattle, ultimately the same constraints affect us all.

“As rainfalls become more irregular, pressure on soils and demands from consumers increase, the pressures on water will only become greater.

“We can learn a great deal from different sectors and it’s exciting that the RASE is looking at this big and important topic.

“Bringing together expertise from many different sectors will help stimulate the whole industry into tackling the issue with confidence and in a practical and intuitive way.”

Martin Redfearn, Head of Barclays Agriculture, says the difficulties farmers faced this year thanks to drought in the spring and torrential rainfall over harvest shows the importance of looking at the issues of managing soil and water.

“The conference is bringing together a wealth of experts who can advice farmers on the best ways to handle these vital resources and help them become as productive as they can possibly be.

“In times of increased pressure on producers thanks to rising costs, climate change and growing demand, an industry-wide approach to tackling these issues is something farmers have to get involved with.”

Delegate places are limited and must be booked in advance. Tickets cost £82 per person plus VAT, discounts are available for RASE and NFU members. For the full programme and to book your place, visit


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