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.

  • Farmers
19 Aug 2019
Roling hills farm hay bales

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.

Related files

For more information on the rural work of The Aquifer Partnership, contact Robin Kelly 07795 640914.

Related articles & events

Saddlescombe Farm

An exciting opportunity for the TAP team to see sustainable and aquifer-friendly farming in action.

Read more

TAP appoints a new chair

“TAP has been doing great work over recent years and I’m delighted to be joining the team".

Read more

Groundswell - by farmers, for farmers

'People can sow a seed in your mind, not just in the ground'.

Read more

Generation Restoration

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

This website is built to run on modern browsers.

Unfortunately you are unable to access our site due to visiting on an older, unsupported browser. To access all information regarding The Aquifer Partnership please download a modern browser like Chrome, Firefox or Edge below.

Alternatively you can email or visit South Downs National Park – TAP for more information on The Aquifer Partnership