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Progressive farmers ‘inspired’ by event exploring benefits of biodiversity

PUBLISHED: 15:58 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 30 May 2018

A clod of earth is held up for examination at an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate hosted by LEAF in May Picture: LEAF

A clod of earth is held up for examination at an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate hosted by LEAF in May Picture: LEAF

LEAF

Progressive farmers and experts exchanged ideas at an experimental ‘conference in the field’ hosted by a Suffolk estate.

Delegrates gather at an Integrated Farm Management Field Event hosted by LEAF at Elveden Estate in May Picture: LEAFDelegrates gather at an Integrated Farm Management Field Event hosted by LEAF at Elveden Estate in May Picture: LEAF

Elveden Estate hosted the annual event, run by environmental farming charity LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), which looked at how farmers can optimise biodiversity to deliver business benefits across the whole farm through Integrated Farm Management (IFM).

Farmers, growers, researchers, advisers and industry experts exchanged ideas outside, as part of experimental approach.

Field tours highlighted new trends and best practice over a range of topics, including the role of ley on soil quality, intercropping and its benefits, placement and diversity of field margins in arable rotations, promoting pollinators and predators through field margins, and how margins are used in horticulture rotations.

Sessions focused on how biodiversity can be harnessed in the soil to optimise production and workability of the land, the role of biodiversity in crop health through better use of beneficial organisms and smarter crop rotations, as well as the market opportunities and benefits to human health presented by biodiversity.

LEAF hosted an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate in May Picture: LEAFLEAF hosted an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate in May Picture: LEAF

LEAF IFM manager Alice Midmer said: “Farmers already know that maximising on-farm biodiversity is a good thing – whether that’s through managing wildlife habitats, better soil and water management or improving crop protection strategies. A farm rich in biodiversity is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but is now an essential business management tool to driving forward farm profitability.

“The aim of the LEAF IFM Event was to bring together some of the leading experts, latest thinking and practical ideas around the interconnections between biodiversity, soil, water and crop health – and what better place to do this than out in the field itself.”

Dave Ellerton, technical development director at Hutchinsons, event said the event had engaged everyone.

“This innovative event presented a completely different approach to communications and was really effective in capturing new opportunities to a large group of farmers. “

LEAF hosted an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate in May. Pictured is some of the wild plants Picture: LEAFLEAF hosted an Integrated Farm Management Field Event at Elveden Estate in May. Pictured is some of the wild plants Picture: LEAF

Essex LEAF demonstration farmer Jeremy Durrant described it as “a real inspiration” which made him reflect on his own approach.

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