Soil 22 Conference – Carbon, traffic and tillage at Harper Adams University January 2022

  • The Soil 22 conference entitled carbon, traffic and tillage takes place virtually on Thursday 13 January 2022
  • Farming’s environmental impact and its ability to sequester carbon is under the spotlight like never before.  There is much talk of soil protection, management and making carbon pay.  This year, the Soil and Water Management Centre conference strongly addresses these issues with a group of leading farmers and researchers

The conference opens at 09.50 by Guy Smith who is also chairman for the day.  The morning session concentrates on ten years of tillage and traffic field experiment.

This session includes Dr Paula Misiewicz, Project lead, HAU introducing the internationally unique long-term Traffic & Tillage project that was established in 2011 on a uniform sandy loam soil at Harper Adams University. 

Magda Kaczorowska-Dolowy  a PhD student at Harper will talk about soil physical conditions and health followed by Harper lecturer Ed Dickin discussing crop performance and yield.  

After a short comfort break Professor Richard Godwin, visiting Professor, HAU will take a look at the economics.  Results following the first eight years of the trial have shown that with careful selection of the equipment both controlled traffic and low ground pressure (for deep tilled soils) are economically viable for enterprises of c.100ha or greater.

This is followed by a farmer case studies session chaired by Andy Newbold of Farm Smart Events.  It includes debate with farmers Tim Parton, Brewood Park Farm, Staffordshire and Mark Lea, Greenacres Farm, Shropshire and ends with a general discussion.

After lunch there will be visits and demos as follows:

  1. Long Marsh Tillage and Traffic experiment which will be in a cover crop prior to spring planting with millet – Simon Jeffery, HAU, speaking about reasons for millet & monitoring of carbon
  2. Update on GNSS systems and RTK correction, Darren Roe, John Deere
  3. Central inflation/deflation system, Fendt (to be confirmed)

The afternoon session is looks at Carbon, an opportunity but what are the knowns and unknowns.  This session is sponsored by Bayer and starts with Jonathan Cooper of HAU looking at farmer perceptions of carbon sequestration.

Jonathan is followed by Mathew Shepherd of Natural England talking about building soil organic matter.

Sequestering carbon in arable soils – more difficult than you think is the topic from David Powlson of Rothamsted Research.  This is followed by a farmer case study – building SOM and the sequestration of carbon in practice – part of a sustainable farm business by Craig Livingstone who is the farm manager at Lockerley Estate in Hampshire.

Finally, Nick Duncan of Bayer gives an overview of the Bayer CropScience carbon programme initiative.  The event concludes with a general discussion and the chairman’s concluding remarks at 16.10.

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