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Lunan farmer focus group workshop - Minimising diffuse pollution

Research Funding Body

Scottish Government Centre for Expertise for Waters (CREW)

Author

Vinten, A

Project Objectives

The aim of this workshop was to dialogue with farmers in the Lunan monitored diffuse pollution catchment on current approaches to minimising diffuse pollution, including regulatory and supported measures, and to explore the potential of existing and new measures to provide opportunities for win-win solutions that provide an economic as well as an environmental benefit.

Why relevant to improve implementation and uptake of water quality measures

This workshop was relevant as it provided an opportunity for researchers to gather local farmers views on measures for mitigating water quality problems. Farmers also provided local knowledge about the practicalities and potential barriers to such measures considering their local farm context.

Method

Workshop with farmers from the Lunan catchment, including a visit to a filter fence trial site and a pilot questionnaire about a number of measures that are available under the SRDP Rural priorities scheme.

Key Results

1. The potential of precision agriculture techniques (eg yield mapping, soil fertility mapping, green crop nutrient deficiency detection, global positioning, automatic steering etc) was clearly recognized by farmers, but there was concern about the capital and recurrent costs of the technology, and about how to assess the business case for this, particularly for smaller farmers.
2. The main barriers that farmers see to the use of buffer strips for biofuels in Scotland (as compared to the Danish experience presented to them): are the current prohibition to remove material from the buffer, and the width that is currently required by the regulations in Scotland, which leads to the buffer being treated as a “bit of scrub”.
3. Feedback from farmers regarding a visit to a filter fence trial for control of soil erosion varied from strong interest in implementation, to a sense that the erosion issue was under control by other means (winter cropping, autumn cultivations etc).
4. Views on the SRDP Rural priorities scheme are mixed. One of the main barriers related to the paper work involved with SRDP. The pilots showed a general preference for the guaranteed funding, a mixed response to farm woodland creation, due to the high value of the arable land on most farms, and a feeling that SRDP applications should have the potential to roll over beyond 5 years.

Year

2011

Contact Person

Andy Vinten

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.