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Water >>


The Holkham farming conference in March – the last event we went to be- fore the lockdown – also threw up some amazing conversations around cover crops, rotations and so on.” An action plan was then drawn up,


says Mr Borthwick. “All the questions we’d been asking, all the work with flood mitigation… suddenly the bits of the jigsaw came together. We real- ised we needed to rest the soil. And we all needed to rest, too.”


The result is a Countryside Stew- ardship scheme giving a much needed five years of breathing space as well as a regular income. Resting the soil was overdue and necessary, says Mr Walker. But the farm continues to be productive, albeit on a smaller more specialised scale.


“I’ve worked on five whole farm res- toration schemes in the past two or three years and this is the only one – bar one – that still incorporates ara- ble cropping.” Cropped areas have been simpli- fied by creating 20 plots, each one 5ha, which will grow two-year clover leys, wheat, peas or beans and barley in ro- tation. These will replace the carrots, potatoes and maize grown until now.


There is also a new focus on local


markets, adds Mr Borthwick. “We’ve always been really good at


creating local opportunities in all our diversification – with local producers at our Deepdale markets, local acts at our music events, and so on, but on the farm, the crops have gone out into the big world. “It’s a logical link up to find local markets for our crops, so, for example, we’ll grow just enough barley to go to Crisp Malting, and then have locally produced beer at our events, and we


can use our wheat to make flour for our pizza nights.”


Looking ahead to when the clover


rich leys will need grazing, Mr Nelson is making contacts through Liz Gen- ever’s Carbon Dating service for live- stock farmers. It helps build carbon levels in arable soils by linking farm- ers who want land with growers who want livestock.


“I’ve had some good conversations


so far, with a shepherd in Yorkshire and a local beef farmer with a suck- ler herd,” he says.


Work by


Norfolk Rivers Trust included digging two sediment traps across the field.


Providing practical advice and solutions to any


drainage, irrigation, construction or maintenance – no matter how complex


P X


• Land Drainage and ditching • Water control structures • Watercourse maintenance • Reservoir/lake construction and maintenance • Habitat & wetland creation • Civil engineering • Specialist plant hire


Needham Bank, Friday Bridge, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE14 0LH t. 01945 860318 | f. 01945 860599 | e. info@thefengroup.co.uk thefengroup.co.uk


36 ANGLIA FARMER •SEPTEMBER 2020


BY APPOINTMENT TO


HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II LAND DRAINAGE CONTRACTOR FEN DITCHING COMPANY WISBECH


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