Water firm schemes to think about to your farming enterprise

Catchment areas within the UK are largely dominated by land put to agricultural use, which makes collaboration between water corporations and farmers important for preserving uncooked water high quality.

Water corporations throughout the nation function numerous schemes that work intently with farmers to not solely assist meet water high quality targets but additionally enhance the farm’s backside line.

Affinity Water

Areas lined:

  • Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey
  • The London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and components of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield
  • Additionally supplying to the Tendring peninsula in Essex, in addition to Folkestone and Dover in Kent

Key considerations embody nitrates, pesticides and different biologicals getting into watercourses. Affinity Water affords quite a lot of incentives to work alongside farmers to deal with these points at supply.

Amongst these is Affinity’s personal Soil Innovation Fund, which is designed to enhance soils to the benefit of each farm productiveness and stopping run-off and different water-related points related to poor soils.

Danny Coffey is an agricultural adviser at Affinity. “The scheme permits farmers entry to something that they see will enhance their soils – it’s a really versatile scheme,” he says.

Danny Coffey

Danny Coffey © Affinity Water

The concepts pitched are then put to a panel – which incorporates soil scientists, regenerative agriculture specialists and representatives from the water business – and are assessed primarily based on the deserves and awarded grant funding accordingly.

Funding can cowl as much as 75% of challenge prices, to a most worth of £15,000. Earlier initiatives have included equipment modifications, precision injection of fertiliser and help for undersowing maize.

This funding is supplementary to different schemes run by Affinity, which embody grants for canopy cropping, oilseed rape companion cropping and various cropping to oilseed rape, with the general intention of focusing on pesticide and nitrate points.

Anglian Water

Areas lined: East of England and Hartlepool

Defending sources in one of many driest areas of the UK is a precedence for Anglian Water.

The agency has a devoted crew of agricultural and catchment advisers who work with and alongside farmers, landowners and agronomists to make sure air pollution doesn’t enter watercourses.

Leaching nitrate and phosphorus fertilisers causes a number of the greatest points within the space.

The corporate has run quite a lot of initiatives with native farmers, offering recommendation and help on every thing from slug management to utilizing drip trays with pesticides – and even a pesticide amnesty.

Richard Reynolds

Richard Reynolds © Anglian Water

When it comes to grant help, Anglian Water’s Farming Innovation Grant has now offered two rounds of funding to develop innovation options that deal with native water high quality challenges in precedence areas throughout the catchment.

In its first yr, the grant programme gave farms within the space entry to greater than £250,000 price of funding, which was break up throughout 19 initiatives.

The applying window for this yr’s funding is now closed, however Anglian Water is eager to proceed listening to concepts from farmers.

Final yr, the corporate additionally supplied a coaching grant and canopy crops grant, which offered funding for greater than 120 farmers within the area.

Senior agronomy adviser Richard Reynolds says: “Finally, we consider native farmers are finest positioned to grasp their native wants and challenges so attempt avoiding generic funding programmes that pay a hard and fast charge for a specified merchandise.

“We need to put farmers as a part of the answer, not the issue.”

Bristol Water

Areas lined: Bristol metropolis and north Somerset, in addition to components of Tub, north-east Somerset and South Gloucestershire

A big proportion of dairy farms within the space imply Bristol Water’s work with farmers centres on controlling nutrient focus ranges.

Matthew Pitts is the agency’s catchment technique supervisor. “My foremost focus is on the Mendips. We now have three large reservoirs there – Chew Valley, Blagdon and Cheddar,” he says.

“In these areas we’re making an attempt to take care of nutrient focus at a decrease stage in order that we don’t get algal blooms. The algal blooms are what makes the water troublesome for us to deal with.”

Farmers can get a free specialist session on how they will shield native sources by way of the long-standing Mendip Lakes Partnership – a collaboration between Bristol Water, Catchment Delicate Farming, Avon Wildlife Belief, Pure England and the Atmosphere Company.

This partnership offers farmers entry to quite a lot of different free instruments together with:

  • Soil evaluation and administration recommendation, in addition to manure and slurry nutrient worth evaluation
  • Nitrate susceptible zone compliance checks
  • Nutrient administration planning from a Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Coaching Scheme (Information) certified adviser
  • Grant software help recommendation.

Bristol Water additionally affords a grant scheme.

“We now have a pot of cash put aside for farmers to use for to make enhancements to their farm that can cut back the chance of air pollution or allow them to handle their vitamins higher, for instance,” explains Mr Pitts.

This funding typically covers as much as 50% of an funding as much as a most worth of £10,000.

Cambridge Water

Areas lined: Cambridge, extending as far north as Ramsey, west to Gamlingay, all the way down to Melbourn within the south and over to Balsham in the east

Final yr noticed the extension of the Slug Pesticide Rethink – Concepts for Nurturing Progress (Spring) grant to farmers in Cambridge Water catchment areas, after continued success since its launch in 2016 by South Staffs Water. Each corporations are a part of South Staffordshire Plc.

The grant is designed to assist farmers enhance practices to stop pesticides and fertilisers getting into watercourses.

It affords as much as £10,000/yr a farm, with the funding going in direction of voluntary on-farm infrastructural enhancements and land administration choices, or a mix of each.

Functions can embody cowl crops, buffer strips, nectar pollen and wild chook mixes, in addition to concrete yard renewal and funding for chemical dealing with and/or storage areas.

Most lately, a variety of choices to enhance biodiversity have been added. These embody funding in direction of soil testing, spreader and sprayer calibration and rainwater harvesting.

Senior catchment adviser Nina Yiannoukos-Benton says she is especially eager to talk to farmers in precedence catchment areas, which incorporates Babraham, Fleam Dyke, Fulbourn, Linton and Sawston, Euston and Brettenham, and Fowlmere.

Nina Yiannoukos-Benton

Nina Yiannoukos-Benton © South Staffs Water

Along with the Spring scheme, Cambridge Water additionally runs quite a lot of collaborative initiatives that farmers can get entangled with.

Certainly one of these is the Granta challenge, which revolves across the River Granta in south Cambridgeshire.

It goals to establish and implement nature-based options to minimise flood danger whereas maximising each the water amount and high quality on this chalk stream.

Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water)

Areas lined: Most of Wales and Herefordshire, in addition to components of Deeside

Dwr Cymru’s package deal for collaboration with farmers and landowners is called WaterSource and contains quite a lot of measures to guard uncooked water sources.

“These programmes are particular to every catchment, and have farmer-led dialogue teams supporting improvements and novel approaches to land administration, creating resolution help instruments – reminiscent of climate stations – and peatland restoration,” explains challenge supervisor Nigel Elgar.

Richard Roderick, John Owen, Iwan Jones and Nigel Elgar

Richard Roderick, John Owen, Iwan Jones and Nigel Elgar © Dwr Cymru

The Pendine Catchment Undertaking is one such programme.

Working with farm consultants at Adas, it allows farmers to assert a farm well being verify, which might present free recommendation reminiscent of figuring out danger areas in fields, or choices for slurry and silage storage, and clear and soiled water separation programs.

Final yr, the water firm additionally partnered with the Wales Federation of Younger Farmers’ Golf equipment to facilitate information change on defending uncooked water with the subsequent technology.

Northern Eire Water

Areas lined: Sole supplier of water companies in Northern Eire

A brand new farm chemical disposal scheme was launched by Northern Eire Water final yr for farmers within the River Derg catchment space of County Tyrone.

This scheme gave farmers free entry to farm-to-farm assortment of any undesirable chemical substances and pesticides reminiscent of fungicides, sheep dip and veterinary medicines.

The scheme was relaunched once more in December in the identical space with plans to roll it out throughout the nation sooner or later.

Additionally within the Derg catchment space, the lately concluded five-year Supply To Faucet challenge concerned a pilot scheme to offer 100% grants to farmers seeking to cut back pesticide and sediment loss by way of modifications to administration practices.

Alongside different water corporations final yr, Northern Eire Water helped develop a web-based water high quality coaching module for the nationwide Foundation classroom – a web-based useful resource for farmers throughout the UK – to advise on sustainable land administration.

Northumbria Water/Essex and Suffolk Water

Areas lined: Northumbria Water – Tyneside, Wearside, Teesside, Northumberland and County Durham; Essex and Suffolk Water – Chelmsford, Brentwood, Romford, Tilbury, Basildon, Southend, Havering, Redbridge, Hanningfield, Langford and the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham; in Suffolk, provide is offered to Barsham, Walpole, Southwold, Lowestoft and Nice Yarmouth

Catchment advisers within the Northumbria Water/Essex and Suffolk Water areas work with farmers on a one-to-one foundation.

By farm audits they may also help establish measures within the farmyard or the sector that might enhance uncooked water high quality.

“Catchment administration is admittedly necessary if we’re to attempt to at the very least preserve uncooked water high quality, however finally enhance it,” explains firm spokesperson William Robinson.

The implementation of eligible enhancements may be funded with capital grants from the corporate as a part of its Area to Faucet scheme, which is concentrated on minimising danger of key polluters reminiscent of nitrates, pesticides and cryptosporidium.

Cash obtainable for as much as 50% of funding and grants thus far have funded measures reminiscent of concrete hardstanding in yards, biobeds and precision fertiliser software tools.

The place and the way this funding is spent may be versatile, provides Mr Robinson, who says farmers with concepts that might have a profit to water high quality are inspired to get in contact.

The corporate additionally carries out trial work on areas reminiscent of lowering nitrogen losses from soil to groundwater and are eager to work alongside farmers to check know-how reminiscent of nitrogen inhibitors and canopy crops.

Scottish Water

Areas lined: All of Scotland

Scottish Water works with land managers by way of its sustainable land administration crew to evaluate and make suggestions about land actions that happen close to consuming water sources.

To safeguard these areas additional, the organisation additionally has a Ingesting Water Safety scheme, which covers particular areas inside consuming water catchments.

Farmers can ask for an on-site go to from advisers to establish potential enhancements that might improve water high quality.

The place relevant, the scheme will finance the funding at as much as 100% of the price.

Measures obtainable cowl a variety of capital and administration choices together with biobeds, inventory fencing and the resurfacing of gateways.

SES Water

Areas lined: Surrey, Kent and south London, from Morden and south Croydon to Gatwick airport and spanning from Dorking to Edenbridge

Although it doesn’t have a proper grant scheme, SES Water is eager to listen to from farmers who’re serious about investing in mutually helpful, sustainable, catchment-based options to stop air pollution getting into watercourses.

The corporate has a devoted catchment crew, which features a scientist and a advisor, who work intently with farmers within the space and host on-farm walks and visits.

SES Water

© SES Water

Catchment supervisor Ria Woodfield says: “Our key considerations within the catchment are primarily round autumn-applied herbicides – issues like propyzamide and flufenacet.

“The opposite space we’ve numerous points with is nitrates within the water. These are our two key water qualities that we need to tackle [through funding].”

Previous options have included funding the set up of biobeds on farm.

Severn Trent Water

Areas lined: Bristol Channel to the Humber and from mid-Wales to the East Midlands

Over latest years, Severn Trent Water has launched a plethora of schemes, workshops and grant funding in a bid to work extra intently with farmers in its catchment areas.

All of those come underneath the agency’s Regenerative Pathway Bundle, which is designed to assist farmers shield and enhance rivers.

Set to shut on 31 January, the Severn Trent Environmental Scheme is providing farmers and landowners grants of as much as £30,000 to place in direction of farm enhancements that can assist cut back water high quality points.

Precedence funding is reserved for farms in catchment areas the place pesticide discount is paramount and is designed to go in direction of washdown and disposal areas.

For farmers exterior catchments the place pesticide discount is a precedence, most funding of £10,000 is up for grabs.

Over December and January, Severn Trent additionally held free digital coaching workshops on bettering spray efficiencies – with taking part farmers capable of declare a set of low-drift spray nozzles upon completion of the course.

One remaining Swap Your Nozzles session will likely be held on 24 February and is open to all farmers in Severn Trent pesticide precedence catchment areas.

Coaching covers a wide range of matters from laws, buffer zones and native surroundings danger assessments for pesticides, to nozzle choice and software decision-making.

Southern Water

Areas lined: Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Southern Water affords quite a lot of help choices for farmers as a part of its Catchment First dedication to enhance and shield water and the encompassing surroundings.

For eligible catchments, Southern Water runs a farm capital grant scheme as a part of its Water for Life programme.

Funding can cowl as much as 50% of the acquisition value, as much as a most worth of £10,000, and is focused at lowering nitrate and pesticide dangers to water high quality by funding in additional sustainable land administration practices.

Southern Water additionally funded the soil well being monitoring of eight farms over 5 years in certainly one of its catchment areas – an initiative that in ended 2021.

Findings had been used to higher perceive the impression of various cropping and administration methods on each soil well being and nutrient availability and the affect this may increasingly or could not have on water high quality.

Case research: Partnership bolsters farm enterprise resilience

Farmers working with Anglian Water are being inspired to construct their enterprise resilience by managing and monetising their pure capital.

The water firm has joined forces with Trinity AgTech to supply farmers a trusted and scientific answer to optimising soil well being.

“Farmers can monitor and, the place vital, make knowledgeable selections to enhance their soil well being and hold inputs on the sector.

“That inevitably improves consuming water high quality and farmers acquire from a enterprise productiveness perspective,” says Anglian Water catchment adviser Chris Hewis.

Trinity AgTech’s pure capital navigator Sandy is a software program package deal that reveals how altering farm administration practices impacts on-farm carbon sequestration, biodiversity and water high quality so farmers can revenue from their selections.

This may profit farm companies in addition to the surroundings, says Anglian Water senior agronomy adviser Richard Reynolds.

“The extra productive and extra economically sustainable farmers are, the higher finish end result for water high quality.

“Farmers are arising towards difficult instances financially, so supporting them in profiting from their inputs is essential to creating certain their companies stand the take a look at of time,” provides Mr Reynolds.

Utilizing Sandy to optimise soil well being can improve each farm productiveness and the soil’s water holding capability, permitting higher nutrient retention and lowering the chance of run-off.

“In consequence, enterprise resilience for each events will likely be bolstered and everybody beneficial properties from a water high quality and environmental perspective,” he says.

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