Waterwise on the Farm (Version 2)

Further Case Studies

The Game Conservancy Trustís Allerton Project
Soil cultivations are required to most establish most crops. However, whenever soil is loosened it increases the likelihood of some kind of erosion taking place. At its worst this can result in the formation of gullies, at its least diffuse pollution of water courses with fine soil particles coming from under-field drains. At the Game Conservancy Trustís Allerton Project at Loddington in Leicestershire the farm is looking at ways of reducing soil loss, but without compromising profitable crop production. Methods include:

  • where possible, altering the direction of tramlines from up and down the slope to across the slope; recent trials have shown up to 80 per cent of soil erosion can be attributed to eroding tramlines;
  • placing beetle banks across slopes, creating a natural barrier;
  • installing grassy field margins at the bottom of the slope;
  • switching the direction of cultivation to across the slope;
  • chopping and incorporating straw rather than baling on sloping ground;
  • reducing the number and intensity of cultivations;
  • installing mini silt traps in field ditches;
  • sowing stewardship mixes in vulnerable gullies;
  • repairing broken field drains;
  • sowing green covers or encouraging natural re-generation on winter stubbles.

While each of these methods will reduce soil losses by only a small degree, together the result can give a more substantial improvement.

NaturesWay Food Ltd
NaturesWay Food Ltd are a company who process and produce pre packed salads and vegetables for major supermarkets and catering companies. They have recently changed their practices to increase water efficiency. Some 98 per cent  of waste water from factory processes is now recycled into reservoirs to irrigate salad crops. They have also made changes to their washing in the factory and water savings are now recorded weekly. The company also harvests rainwater to 2 lagoons which are attractive to wildlife. Waterless urinals have also been installed in the company offices. Water savings of 35 per cent have been achieved.

CA Strawson Farming Ltd
By installing a number of weather stations, the farm now receives more accurate information on irrigation requirements and has cut down on watering. The change from a gun to a boom irrigation system has saved both water and electricity, as water is applied with greater accuracy to the base of the crop, reducing wastage.

Previously the farm used mains water for washing vegetables and then let it go to waste. Now the water is recycled in a number of different ways:

  • for potatoes, the water is cleaned through a cyclone filtration system and then re-used in the wash process;
  • for other vegetables, water is re-used for brush and barrel washing before being recycled;
  • when the water is changed from time to time it is carried by piping and used to irrigate a willow coppice.
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