Slurry spreading research to be shared at Carmarthenshire Open Day

Weather data collected by researchers in Carmarthenshire could help convince the Welsh Government to introduce flexibility into regulations on nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) across Wales.

These are areas highlighted as being at risk of agricultural nitrate pollution.

The results of the Tywydd Tywi Weather project run by the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) at Coleg Sir Gar in Gelli Aur, near Llandeilo, will be shared with farmers during an open day at the site on September 15, between 11am and 3 p.m.

The pilot project involved setting up weather stations on farms along the Towy Valley from Llansteffan to Llyn Brianne Reserve to collect multiple data including rainfall, temperature and wind speed.

Ground sensors also monitored soil moisture, temperature and leaf wetness.

An app that interprets this data in combination with weather forecasts has now been designed to allow farmers to access this information to inform their farm management decisions.

John Owen, head of project management at ARC, said the app provides “traffic
light system” to inform farmers if conditions are right for nutrient application, allowing them to maximize nutrient benefits and meet legislative requirements.

Mr Owen said he hoped the scheme could be used to persuade the Welsh Government to allow flexibility in NVZ regulations.

Adding: “Throughout the 2021/22 lockdown period the app gave the green light to stream but in February and March when the lockdown period would have ended it turned red.

“It illustrated the risks of basing nutrient management regulations on calendar dates.”

Farmers can learn more about this project and many others during the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Speakers include grassland specialist Chris Duller, who will provide advice on effective nutrient management, Keith Owen on slurry/silage storage structure requirements for pollution regulation control, and Hugh Martineau, Sustainability Lead at Map of Ag (a leading New Zealand-based company specializing in data-driven insights into farm performance) who will discuss nutrient balance and greenhouse gas emissions .

The event is organized jointly with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Farming Connect.

To register for the open house, visit the Farming Connect website here.

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