Welcome to landbridge

A knowledge exchange network for researchers and rural professionals who advise farming and land businesses


Latest News

Calling all farmers and advisers in the North East
Catchment Sensitive Farming in conjunction with landbridge, Newcastle University and the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group are hosting a free workshop on 19th March in Wooler on cover crops, precision farming and more! Featuring contributions from CSF, Agrovista and Newcastle University, this interactive workshop offers strategies to improve fertiliser efficiency and save money on farm. Click here for the programme. To book your free place contact Ian Walton at Ian.walton@naturalengland.org.uk.


Capita and Newcastle University partnership selected to operate Fera in new Defra joint venture

Capita plc has been selected, following a competitive procurement process, as the preferred bidder to form a joint venture with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to operate the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in York. And as part of the proposal, the company has named Newcastle University as their strategic science partner to run the research part of the new organisation. Capita will make an initial investment of £20m for a 75% stake in the joint venture, with further investment, in cash, kind and dividends, during the following five years. The joint venture will create 50 new science jobs in York and, in partnership with Newcastle University, an institute that will bring together around 40 researchers.


BBSRC to launch Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen
BBSRC invite interested academics eligible to receive BBSRC funding to attend this town meeting, to discuss the proposed upcoming Newton Fund call for virtual joint centres in Agricultural Nitrogen with Brazil, China and India. Areas of research which could be addressed by a virtual joint centre could include: increasing nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants; developing/improving biological nitrogen fixation in crop plants ; agronomic nitrogen management and/or efficiency. The outputs of this workshop will help to inform the scope of the call which will launch in spring 2015. This meeting will be an opportunity to find out more about the call, to meet the BBSRC team involved, meet other UK researchers who could be potential collaborators, and to use their experience to provide advice to us to help scope the call. See BBSRC website for more information and to register for the event on 11 March 2015.


Businesses need to look ahead and plan for water resilience

Globally a growing population is putting pressure on our limited supply of water, and agriculture faces particular challenges as it is responsible for 70% of the freshwater used by human beings. Although we seem to experience plenty of rainfall in the UK, having enough water available at the right time is likely to become more of a problem for businesses here, particularly those concerned with land use. Climate change will be felt throughout the country and changing rainfall patterns could affect our river flows, making it harder for groundwater to be recharged, while more intense rainfall may increase the likelihood of surface water flooding, leading to pollution of water bodies. All businesses need to be looking ahead and may find Business in the Community's recent report "Water: securing the resources for future prosperity" useful in their resilience planning.

Relu Newsletter - January 2015

The Rural Economy and Land Use Programme January 2015 Newsletter includes all the latest news and updates on Relu and LWEC research projects, events, staff and publications.

One-day seminars on organic food production and supply chains

The Organic Research Centre are running a series of one day seminars in January and February on organic food production and supply chains, aimed at farmers/farm managers, advisers/land agents, researchers, young people including students/apprentices and others involved in the food supply chain.


Could wetlands help improve land and water management?

A growing emphasis on the value “natural capital” and rising concern about the need to protect water at source, rather than cleaning up abstracted supplies with chemical inputs, could be major drivers for public and private organisations to look for more systemic solutions such as wetlands. LWEC’s policy and practice note on the topic is now available in hard copy (contact anne.liddon@ncl.ac.uk) and on line.


Countryside Stewardship reform

Defra have issued an introduction to the new environmental land management scheme 'Countryside Stewardship' which is part of the RDPE Programme 2014-2020. Farmers and land managers can start applying for the scheme from July 2015. Agreements and payments will begin in 2016.


Latest landbridge blog
Charles Scott, Manager of the Farm Business Survey at Newcastle University reflects on the recent Northern Farming Conference held in Hexham in the latest landbridge blog


Advisers needed for research study!

Hope Moore is a third year Animal Science student at Newcastle University. For her dissertation on ‘Current methods used to control Gastro-intestinal parasites on UK sheep farms’ she is undertaking a survey in conjunction with EBLEX, with the aim to try and quantify current anthelmintic practice on sheep farms and farmers awareness of the alternatives to anthelmintic drugs. Resistance to anthelmintic wormers used to treat gastro-intestinal nematodes is a growing problem in the UK. However there are many alternatives to anthelmintics that are being researched and may be possible alternatives to using anthelmintics. Hope is conducting a pilot survey aimed at professionals that work with farmers on a regular basis (this would be you!). The feedback from this pilot questionnaire will inform, the second, and final questionnaire that will be distributed to sheep farmers in the UK through EBLEX. If you think you could help and are interested in filling in the questionnaire please could you contact Hope at: h.e.moore@ncl.ac.uk


Guidance for growers on getting optimum pollination from insects

Bees, hoverflies and other insects play a vital role in pollinating many crops in the UK, as has been emphasised in Defra’s recently published national pollinator strategy . The latest Living With Environmental Change Policy and Practice Note “The benefits of managing pollinators for crop production” draws on research from the Insect Pollinators Initiative to provide practical advice for growers and farmers about how they can manage this important resource for optimum returns, as well as pointers for policy. The PPN may be downloaded from the LWEC website and printed copies are also available from anne.liddon@ncl.ac.uk.

Bridging the gap between farming research and practice - live twitter discussion

Landbridge will be joining #AgriChatUK this Thursday (November 6th) from 8pm for a discussion on 'Bridging the gap between farming research and practice'. Join us live for this twitter debate at https://twitter.com/AgriChatUK


Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity initiative - call for proposals
The Living With Environmental Change Partnership has announced a call for proposals for the third phase of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (THAPBI) funded jointly by BBSRC, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), ESRC, the Forestry Commission, NERC and the Scottish Government. This third call specifically invites proposals for scientifically excellent, relevant research that will inform policy and practice to address either (i) threats to the health of oak, or (ii) threats to trees from Phytophthora. The funders expect to support one project on each topic at a cost not exceeding £1m per project. Proposals must be integrative and interdisciplinary, combining high-quality biological, environmental and social science, and drawing on the full range of available research capabilities. Collaborations are particularly encouraged between researchers with established skills in tree or forest health and others with complementary expertise from the wider relevant research communities. Expressions of interest should be submitted by 8th January 2015 through Defra's eSourcing Portal.






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

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member