VI best practice project kicks off

ELEVEN FARMS have joined a Voluntary Initiative pilot project to reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment.

The volunteers will help demonstrate how best practice can deliver environmental improvements.

Progress will be helped by Farming and Wildlife Advisor Group, who will be preparing biodiversity action plans for all the farms.

Water quality monitoring will be carried out by the Environment Agency and more detailed environmental assessments will be made on other farms.

Project manager Graham Hartwell said he is looking for one or two more farms, particularly in Wales, to join the project.

“But I believe we have a good representative selection, which will allow us to show what can be achieved by following best practice and thinking carefully about the environment.

“It only takes a little bit of time and effort to improve and we should always be trying to get better at what we do,” he added.

Norfolk farmer and project volunteer Richard Hirst said his crop protection management plan highlighted some areas for improvement.

“On my farm I expect to be focussing on our sprayer wash down area but I will also be interested to see what comes out of the biodiversity action plan.”

Linking Environment and Farming demonstration farmer Robert Lawton said there was still room for improvement in the conservation areas of his Wiltshire farm.