Soil Analysis Helps Build Mussel Power; Two Schemes Crack Down on Fertiliser Use

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), August 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Soil Analysis Helps Build Mussel Power; Two Schemes Crack Down on Fertiliser Use


Byline: ANDREW FORGRAVE

FARMERS are being invited to take part in a money-saving campaign that will help protect Conwy's mussel fisheries.

The CEFN Conwy project has been set up to help farmers manage their soils efficiently.

Run jointly by Bangor University and the Conwy Rural Partnership, the project is looking for farmers to take part in on-farm demonstration trials.

Participants will qualify for free soil analysis, aimed at cutting the cost of fertiliser bills.

Another beneficiary could be the region's mussel industry. Agricultural run-off into the River Conwy is known to be affecting the health of the economically important shellfish beds.

"If this happens for several seasons the industry could go under," said Prof Davey Jones, of Bangor University.

"If we can get these levels down, the mussel beds will be safer. Beaches that have had their Blue Flag status withdrawn will also see their water quality improve."

The CEFN Conwy Project is inviting farmers to a series of workshops and training events where they can discuss soil management, learn more about calculating on-farm nutrient budgets and reduce run-off from their land.

A similar project is being run in the Vale of Clwyd by Environment Agency Wales (EAW), which is also offering free soil testing and a fertiliser calibration service.

Like the Conwy scheme, it has already confirmed a growing problem with acidity. Last year EAW officers sampled soils on 37 farms in the catchment as part of a free service to improve river water quality.

Farmers looking to boost acidic grasslands were advised to restart lime applications as well as taking a serious look at their fertiliser use. …

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