THE FIRST results from the Soil and Water Protection (SOWAP) project should be available by April next year and could help growers meet forthcoming cross compliance regulations, according to experts.

Speaking at the UK parliamentary reception (Dec 1) to highlight the importance of soil and water protection, project manager, Mike Lane said initial results have been collated and it was now a case of putting them into a format farmers could use.

With the imminent policy changes set to include a significant focus on soil management, this understanding is greatly needed, said former farm minister, John Gummer.

“As we enter a period in which cross compliance and the Water Framework Directive will make issues of soil management more important, results of worth [from the SOWAP project] can be discussed.

“The issues with which we are concerned are not unique to the UK, they are Europe wide,” he said.

Some “significant results” had already been seen from project work done in Hungary and Belgium, where the adoption of minimum tillage systems had seen a 60-70% reduction in soil erosion, added Mr Lane.

Organisers hope that the SOWAP project will provide farmers with practical answers to soil and water management issues.

The report findings will be closely integrated with the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive and Soil Protection Strategy.