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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.


New research shows South West farmers concerned by Brexit
Farmers have expressed concern about the unknown implications of Britain leaving the European Union, according to a new survey by experts at the University of Exeter. Almost half (45.8 per cent) of those questioned said the interests of British agriculture will be best served by the UK remaining a member of the EU. More than a third (35.5 per cent) indicated that it would be in the interest of British agriculture to leave the EU. The remaining 18.7 per cent were unable to give an answer. If this group is removed the proportion in favour of remain is 56.6 per cent while 43.4 per cent favour leaving. The 1,251 farmers who took part in the postal survey, by the University of Exeters Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP), were also asked about future Government financial support for agriculture. Only 17.1 per cent thought it would remain at broadly similar levels in the event of a 'Brexit', while 44.5 per cent thought it would not, and 38.4 per cent didnt know. LEEP Director Professor Matt Lobley said: 'This is a robust survey of the views of farmers. The 1,251 respondents represent approximately 5 per cent of all farms in the South West and almost 9 per cent of the regions farmland.These findings suggest that some farmers feel the Common Agricultural Policy has an important role in supporting their work, and that they are concerned leaving the European Union could leave them more economically vulnerable than they are now'. LEEP Director Professor Michael Winter OBE said: 'The UK is a highly urbanised nation. Our research shows that farmers are sceptical about whether the UK government outside the EU would maintain the same level of support for farmers as under the EU. History suggests that politicians would prefer to reform the Common Agricultural Policy.'


The key role of farm advisers in sustainable intensification
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 SIP, landbridge will be hosting a workshop at Nafferton Farm in Northumberland on 8th September 2016, with opportunities for advisers to explore these issues and learn more about the Sustainable Intensification Research Platform. For further details please see here or to book your place, contact Amy Proctor at landbridge by 12th August 2016 amy.proctor@ncl.ac.uk.

Biobed reduces pesticides by over 90% after vehicle wash-down
Research by the University of East Anglia, in partnership with the Environment Agency, farm managers and precision farming experts Farm Systems & Environment, found that a biobed reduced pesticide concentrations by 91.6%, thus protecting waterways. A biobed is a pit filled with a 1:2:1 mix of compost, straw and topsoil. Contaminated machinery washings were contained in an enclosed wash-down facility and then run through the biobed, where bacteria and fungi break down the pesticides. In total, 86 different pesticides were detected in the system and the biobed was effective at reducing concentrations of them all. The biobed cost about £6k to set up and should last for around 5 years before the mix needs to be renewed. The research was carried out by the Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment Project with financial support for pesticides analysis from the Environment Agency. For more information contact Kevin Hiscock K.Hiscock@uea.ac.uk.


Brexit threats and opportunities
Brexit presents both opportunities and threats for farming and the agricultural industries, says political scientist Professor Wyn Grant, in our Landbridge blog, while he also questions the received wisdom on how farmers voted in the June referendum and looks ahead to likely changes in farm subsidies and potential challenges arising in trade agreements and the labour market.


















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

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member