Work begins on new “wet peat farming” system at Harper Adams

WORK TO develop an innovative paludiculture – or wet peat farming – system on the Harper Adams University Future Farm is well underway.

The research will use Adeney Yard, a peat soil field on the University estate, as an exemplar plot where the new farming approaches will be trialled. Ultimately, the aim is for findings from work at Adeney and elsewhere to establish Harper Adams as the UK’s first research, development, demonstration and knowledge transfer facility for paludiculture.

Project design is heavily dependent upon the topography, soil profiles and drainage among many other factors. Recent explorations of the soil profiles have taken place across the site, and as Executive Project and Programme Consultant Scott Kirby explained, “They were hugely variable. We spent a fascinating day taking a trip back through time to when the Weald Moors were first formed around 22,000 years ago, exploring glacial moraine and the till deposits of sand and clay.”

Postdoctoral Researcher Ana Natalio said, “The dramatic soil profiles were simply stunning. Our project science team, led by Dr Simon Jeffery, will be explaining this process during the afternoon site visit at our Paludiculture Symposium on September 13th, and we will be sharing our vision and ideas regarding best industry practise for setting up the site.”

The Paludiculture Symposium is the first of two days exploring science and techniques related to paludiculture, both globally and at Harper Adams. Hosted alongside the North Shropshire Farming Cluster, the Symposium will see LEAF explaining how a LEAF Marque standard will be developed for paludiculture.

With farmers, UK and international peatland experts, and academic input from Harper Adams and beyond, the symposium will examine best practice, farming innovation and barriers to paludiculture.

The following day, on September 14, will see the hosting of the Restoration of lowland peatland for ecosystem services conference – the second in a series of conferences examining the restoration of peat for ecosystem services. It will feature speakers from Natural England, the Aqualate Catchment Group, LEAF, REESETS, and academics from Bangor University, St Andrews University, and Harper Adams.

A keynote speech from Lord Deben, who served as Secretary of State for the Environment and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during his career in Government, will open the conference.

The Symposium and Conference are both free – more information about the Symposium can be found here and information on the Conference can be found here 


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