30 June 2000

Conservation and profitable farming can easily co-exist

NEW this year in the Arable demonstration area of the Harrogate showground is a farm wildlife feature.

Developed in conjunction with the regions Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, the Farming and Wildlife Area aims to show how conservation and profitable farming can co-exist.

The spotlight this year falls on deer farming and the management of hay meadows. Also included will be advice from FWAG advisers on maintaining hedges, grass margins and game crops.

Visitors to the Arable area will be able to view nearly 100 demonstration plots. But they are not trial plots, the societys technical adviser, Douglas Thomson, is quick to point out. "The plots are intended to stimulate discussion between farmer visitors and local independent arable consultants from the Association of Independent Crop Consultants and ADAS," he says.

Representatives from both organisations will be on hand to give advice to growers. They will also talk to the public about modern arable farming techniques.

The blocks range from areas managed to demonstrate conservation practises, game conservancy, the use of crops inputs, such as cereal growth regulators, and fungicides, and organic production. There will also be a demonstration of novel crops such as flax and linseed.

"In these difficult times, we want to underline the fact that margins can be maximised by keeping costs to a minimum without lowering yields," says Mr Thomson.

A variety demonstration will feature different varieties of flax and linseed. Experts will be on hand to offer constructive advice tailored to individual farm circumstances.

The show will also host an open meeting of organic enthusiasts, producers, retailers and consumers at 6pm on Wed, July 12 in the Brewers tent. So if you have a view about how to develop the demonstration of organic farming in the Arable area, why not make a date to join the discussion? &#42

Douglas Thomson inspects the conservation plots in the Farming and Wildlife Area of the showground.