Water quality and nutrient management across the county was the hot topic at a recent Montgomeryshire NFU Cymru county meeting.
During the meeting, held at The Elephant and Castle, Newtown, members heard from guest speakers Lorna Davis, NFU Cymru Water Quality/Nutrient Management Project Manager and Adrian Kinner-Smith, Farming Liaison Officer for Severn Rivers Trust.
Lorna Davis, who has recently been employed as project manager for the All Wales Farmer-led Nutrient Management Programme, a position that is joint-funded by NFU Cymru and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and is a partnership between NFU Cymru, NRW, FUW and Welsh Government, will take forward the work of NRW Agri-Pollution Sub-Group to develop farmer-led voluntary approaches to nutrient management.
Lorna discussed issues that need to be considered ahead of the application of nutrients, including the nutrient requirements of the crop, the weather and soil conditions and the various risk factors that need to be considered prior to applying nutrients, as well as the benefits of nutrient and manure management planning. Lorna also talked to members about the Pont Bren Project which highlighted a good example of managing water pathways in the local area.
Following this, Adrian Kinner-Smith discussed how to access the funding that is available through the Severn Rivers Trust. Adrian outlined the history of the trust and told members that it was formed in 2009 by a group of fishermen and is a registered charity. Its initial aim was to undertake habitat project management, land management and community engagement and has split the main River Severn catchment into six sub catchments across Wales and England.
Adrian wanted to make members aware of the offering from the Trust, which includes farm advice and help towards funding through rural development fund projects; water separation advice; soil erosion through water and wind; soil health; fencing off watercourses; wetland and flood management. The main aim of this offering it to raise awareness of pollution, to help support land based businesses and to help understand the problems with regulation.
Alex Higgs, NFU Cymru Montgomeryshire County Chair said: “I’d like to thank both Lorna and Adrian for coming along and speaking to us about such an important subject. While there are a range of factors and sectors affecting water quality in Wales, all of us working in agriculture must work together to safeguard and improve water quality in Wales and we can all take away plenty of useful information following their presentations."