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Filter Fences for Erosion Control for the Aftermath of Potatoes

Research Funding Body

Scottish Government

Project Objectives

The work aimed to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of sediment fences for erosion control in the aftermath of potatoes, both with and without the post-harvest cultivation required by regulations, and to put results in a policy context.

Why relevant to improve implementation and uptake of water quality measures

Through an increased understanding of how effective filter fences are in reducing erosion after potatoes and through an increased understanding of farmers’ view of filter fences, targeted economic incentives can be offered to increase soil quality and reduce diffuse source contaminate levels in water bodies.

Method

Filter fences were tested at Baldardo farm in the upper Lunan catchment, Angus, Scotland. A further trial was undertaken in the adjacent field with post-harvest cultivation treatments. The fences were installed in November 2011 and removed in February 2012. Sediment accumulation was measured. Deposited sediment was sampled for bulk density and P content.

Key Results

  • There is clear acknowledgement of the soil erosion issue in potatoes and winter cereals.
  • Filter fences were seen as a good idea, but not practical as they stood, because they encroach into the field.
  • Discussions with stakeholders about the work show that it is more preferable to go for a permanent fence, in combination with "greening" of hotspot field corners, as a way of tackling the problem and contributing to the 7% greening required by the EU CAP reform agenda.
  • A suitable way forward may be to look at methods to combine filter fences with an appropriate area of vulnerable fields for grass margin and hedgerow funding. If the fences are to be a more permanent feature of the landscape, this would open up the possibility of using them in combination with hawthorn or willow to achieve hedges which also filter effectively.

Year

2012

Contact Person

Andy Vinten or Kenneth Loades

Further Information
 

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.