Panel Discussions at Groundswell 2017

Agricology Hour 2017

Agricology hour "How could no-till work on your farm?"

Agricology invites you to join in to discuss the challenges and opportunities of moving towards a no-till system. Chaired by organic farmer Richard Smith, Agricology Hour will bring together researchers and farmers with insights into different elements of tillage in the farming system who will be on hand to answer your questions and give feedback to your own experiences.

The panel will include:

Dr Christine Jones, Amazing Carbon. 

Building soil carbon. Christine is a Soil Ecologist who works with regenerative land management practices to build soil carbon.

Rick Bieber

Rick is a farmer from South Dakota who has been in continuous low disturbance no-till for the last 30 years, utilising cover crops in a diverse cropping system.

Dr Sarah Cook, ADAS

Weed management and tillage. Sarah is involved in the Innovative Farmers Field lab on ‘alternatives to glyphosate for destroying cover crops’.

Dr Felicity Crotty, GWCT

Soil biology, earthworms and cover crops. Felicity is running trials at the GWCTs Allerton Project looking at the impact of cover crops and reduced tillage on earthworms and soil biology.

John Cherry

John farms the host farm at Groundswell which has been in no-till for 6 years and currently re-introducing animals back into the arable rotation with 4 year herbal leys.

The Panel takes place at 11.15am on No-Till Day (Thursday) in the Seminar Barn

Take this opportunity to ask questions and share your own thoughts and experiences with the room!


Innovative farmers "alternatives to glyphosate for terminating cover crops"

Following concerns about the possible withdrawal of glyphosate and increasing herbicide resistance in arable farming, a group of farmers in East Anglia came together to look at alternatives. e group have now set up a practical ‘field lab’, focused on the best ways to destroy cover crops, while still enabling successful establishment of a cash crop afterwards. In this session the panel will discuss their motivations, the techniques they’ll be trialling and some of their early findings.

The panel will include:

Liz Bowles

Liz is Head of Farming at the Soil Association and is a co-ordinator for several Innovative Farmers field labs. Liz has worked in the sector for over 20 years and has a practical approach combined with scientific and sector knowledge. She is a Nuffield scholar. Her research explored co-operation in the red meat sector and was a precursor to her joining EFFP where she worked on developing supply chain collaboration in England in all UK agricultural sectors.

Jerry Alford

Jerry farms in Devon with a mix of dairy, beef, sheep and combinable crops. He has been farming organically for the past ten years and has now taken up a crops advisory post and will also be working on co-ordinating field labs.

James Alexander

James runs PrimeWest Ltd, agricultural contractors and no-tillage specialists, along with his father and is based in Oxfordshire. The business contract farms 400 hectares including an organic and conventional mix and contract drills around 1000 hectares per year with a cross slot drill. In 2012, the company undertook the design and building of the first cross slot drill frame. There are no more than 20 such machines in the UK and Europe. Prime West also produces crimper rollers to work along the seed drills.

The Innovative Farmers talk takes place at 12.20 on No-Till Day in the Seminar Barn