Trialling innovative farming methods with The Aquifer Partnership farms
The water stored in the chalk around Brighton is a resource, supplying drinking water to the residents and businesses of Brighton and Hove.
Intensive farming methods on the South Downs over the last few years have contributed to rising levels of nitrate, used as a fertiliser, in the raw water. Nitrate poses a risk to human health in large amounts, and water companies have a legal requirement to supply water with nitrate levels below a certain limit. Treatment processes to remove nitrate do exist, but they are expensive and use lots of energy. Instead, The Aquifer Partnership project is working with the farmers on the South Downs to help them manage their fertiliser more efficiently and sustainably.
Building on the success of farm trials on over-winter cover crops, The Aquifer Partnership project is working with two farms to trial innovative methods for managing nitrate. The first trial is designed to challenge the industry standard fertiliser recommendations to see if reducing applications of nitrogen has a significant impact on a farm business or the amount of nitrogen being lost to the environment. The second trial is aiming to assess whether the use of a foliar-applied nitrogen, rather than the more common granular fertilisers, is economically feasible and could reduce nitrate leaching.
Both trial plots were harvested in August 2019 and the first round of results are now in. A short summary of each can be found below.
The Aquifer Partnership Foliar N Trial
In 2018, the Brighton ChaMP Project began working with Agrovital, Bodle Bros and BD Harris Farm Trust to trial the use of foliar-applied nitrogen (N) through a product called Efficie-N-t 28. The aim is to test whether a foliar-applied N product
The Aquifer Partnership Nitrogen Reduction Trial
In 2018, the Brighton ChaMP team began working with S.Woodley Crop Services and Bevendean Farm to understand and measure the impact of reduced nitrogen application
Related articles & events
Ecosystem restoration is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day.Read more
Our glorious groundwater! Simple steps to help care for our precious aquifer
Get involved with World Water Day by becoming a “groundwater guardian”, and help care for the precious aquifer that gives us all clean water to drink and enjoy.Read more
Leading-edge farm trials show early promise for protecting groundwater and environment
New and innovative farming methods that build resilience to climate change and protect a precious aquifer are being trialled by TAP.Read more
Adur and Ouse Catchment Partnership launch new website
Gareth Williams of the Environment Agency introduces the work of the Adur and Ouse Catchment Partnership.Read more
SuDS to Safeguard Groundwater
With ecosystem services now being a core element of the Local Plan, Susie Howells, TAP’s Partnership Development Manager, looks at the emerging benefits of sustainable drainage – using plant power to help naturally cleanse polluted water.Read more