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Farm Carbon Workshop: Learn how to weatherproof your farm

In April 2024, Herefordshire Council partnered with 4R Reassurance to deliver a farm carbon workshop, featuring regenerative agricultural consultancy Neils Corfield, focusing on grazing and mixed farming operations.

The changing climate is creating new challenges and opportunities for farmers. Attendees of the day learned how to weatherproof their farm and protect themselves against issues including compaction, poaching, wet lying land, and high housing costs.

Neils Corfield outlined that many of the common issues seen across grazing systems such as wet lying land, poaching, and burning off, stem from soil compaction issues.

Compaction is caused by a lack of aggregate structure in the soil and can lead to long infiltration times and runoff, which contributes to flooding and loss of nutrients. Additionally, a lack of infiltration and water retention in the soil leads to burning off during periods of drought.

Lack of a root system below ground greatly contributes poor aggregate structure. Short roots, gappy swards, and the shallow root systems of running grasses are all factors.

Attendees were encouraged to consider the variety of options available to improve aggregate structure. One of the key ways explored was moving to a rotational grazing system. When plants are allowed to develop deep root systems, soil organisms and micro-organisms are supported, and aggregate structure improves. This improves compaction issues and builds soil health, leading to increased grass production and greater yields.

Additional measures discussed included mechanical interventions, mineral interventions, and biological interventions like seeding with herbal lays, but the key message was that management (i.e. rotational grazing) was an essential component in improved soil health. Neils Corfield makes some of these points and more in the video below.