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Relu Newsletter - July 2016

The Rural Economy and Land Use Programme October 2016 Newsletter includes all the latest news and updates on Relu and LWEC research projects, events, staff and publications.


Being a good listener and speaking a common language

In the latest landbridge blog, Susannah Bolton, Director of Knowledge Exchange at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, reflects on the recent Landbridge SIP workshop, which gave her a useful insight into how sustainable intensification, or maybe these kinds of practices under a different name - could make a real difference on the farm and what land based professionals need in order to make this happen.


Heritage value of parks and gardens
Recent research has shown that parks and gardens have considerable heritage value for people, suggesting that their appreciation extends beyond obvious aesthetic and/or recreational values. These essential environmental and cultural assets provide areas for recreation, leisure, and social activity; contribute to our health, local economies and wellbeing; offer space for nature to flourish; and enhance the environmental resilience of the built environment. LWEC PPN 36 Taking account of heritage value of parks and gardens considers the implications of this for managers of these important open spaces.


Season and method is important for safer application of slurry
Dairy farming generates large volumes of liquid manure - or slurry - which is ultimately recycled to agricultural land as a valuable source of plant nutrients. Research carried out by the Governance of Livestock Disease project as part of the Relu programme show a significant increase in faecal indicator organism (FIO) persistence (measured by the half-life of E. coli and intestinal enterococci) when slurry was applied to grassland via shallow injection and significantly higher decay rates for FIOs applied to grassland in spring relative to summer and autumn. Significant differences in the behaviour of E. coli and intestinal enterococci over time were observed, with E. coli half-lives influenced more strongly by season of application relative to the intestinal enterococci population. While shallow injection of slurry can reduce agricultural GHG emissions to air it can also prolong the persistence of FIOs in soil, potentially increasing the risk of their subsequent transfer to water. The research is published in the Journal of Environmental Management.


How can dynamic models of macronutrient behaviour be developed and applied to guide environmental policy?

Human activities such as industrial production, transport, agriculture, urbanisation, domestic detergent use and sewage treatment interfere with natural macronutrient cycles, unbalancing them, with unintended and largely undesirable environmental consequences. These macronutrient elements - carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus - are central to life processes and their biogeochemical cycles are intertwined in air, land and water. Combatting these effects requires policies that address the future impact of excess nutrients but how can policymakers address the problem? LWEC Policy and Practice Note no 35 The unbalanced cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus: national scale forecasting outlines the latest evidence on how models can be used to help policymakers and environmental regulators to address this problem by demonstrating how multiple pollutants interact and alter in response to changes in climate, land use and atmospheric pollution.

SIP-landbridge workshop - Sustainable intensification: what role for advisers?
As farmers are required to produce more and more from their land the skills and knowledge of the farm adviser are becoming more important than ever. Sustainable intensification is an important approach for farmers and all land professionals but how practical or useful are the techniques and tools being developed, and how willing will clients be to adopt new systems? In association with the Sustainable Intensification Research Platform (SIP), landbridge hosted a workshop at Nafferton Farm in Northumberland on 8th September 2016, providing opportunities for advisers to explore these issues and learn more about the SIP. With a keynote from Michael Winter and excellent presentations from SIP Study Farm leads Gillian Butler, Chris Stoate and Dave Chadwick, the day also featured a farm walk to examine the interventions being tested at Nafferton. The workshop included lively breakout sessions where advisers, their professional associations, representatives of agricultural and ancillary industries, researchers and knowledge exchange specialists considered how advisory professionals might use the findings emerging from the SIP and further refine these based on their own knowledge and expertise in providing advice to clients. Findings from the event will be used to generate recommendations for a forthcoming SIP policy note on the role of advisers in sustainable intensification.


RICS Rural Conference: preferential rate for landbridge members

RICS Rural Mid-Session conference takes place on 10th November 2016 at SNH Battleby in Perth and RICS is offering landbridge members the opportunity to attend at a preferential rate (70GBP rather than 108GBP plus VAT). The full programme and further details can be found here. Topics being discussed include the impact of Brexit on Scotlands economy and the implications of the Land Reform Act. If you are interested in attending, please contact amy.proctor@ncl.ac.uk at landbridge to obtain the promotional code.









"The more knowledge you share, the more you will benefit in return"

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member