Webinar: Soil health and circular economy (13/11/20)

A sustainable future for agriculture

10am, Friday 13 November

As part of AgriTech Week 2020 NIAB is hosting a virtual seminar 'Soil health and circular economy; A sustainable future for agriculture'.

British agriculture is under increasing pressure from wetter winters and hotter summers. Summer rainfall patterns are expected to shift, making extremes of drought and downfall increasingly likely. Research at NIAB is developing the tools British farming needs to face this adversity and to continue producing food in a sustainable manner. These talks outline the breadth of this research, from large-scale field-based agronomic field trials, to novel salad production using hydroponics, to collaboration with businesses working in the circular economy.

Spaces are limited, first come, first served

Register here


This event will kick off with a talk from Rothamsted Research's Professor of Hydrology Adrian Collins, who has been amassing data for many years to benchmark the state of the farmed environment at catchment scale; characterising pollutants in the soil, water and air. He is measuring and modelling the efficacy of on-farm interventions for managing agricultural sustainabilty. Adrian has been leading work to optimise sustainable intensification of agriculture.

Once the scene is set, we will consider ways that the agritech community, working closely with farmers, can address the sort of issues highlighted by Adrian's work with an emphasis on soil health, structure and productivity. The need to design a much more circular bioeconomy, where resources are reused both profitably and sustainably with long term soil health as one major aim. Longer presentations in the first session will be followed by focused shorter presentations with an emphasis on outcomes.

The speakers are a mixture of practical academics, industry and farmer users - with delegates from industry, practical crop-related academia and policymakers. The event forms part of AgriTech Week under the direction of AgriTech-E.


10:00    Introduction: Use of farm waste, valorising for farm, soil inputs. Lydia Smith, Head of NIAB Innovation Farm and the Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub

10:10    Keynote: Benchmarking your farm - where are the pinch points? Adrian Collins, Professor of Hydrology, Head of Department - Sustainable Agricultural Sciences, North Wyke Sustainable Agriculture Sciences, Rothamsted Research 

10:30    Frass and mushroom compost - recycling for soil health. Ralph Noble, Technical Director, Microbiotech Ltd (WRAP funded)

10:50    Herbal leys and animal grazing for improving arable soil - emerging knowledge from an ongoing trial at Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Patrick McKenna, Postdoctoral Research Associate, NIAB (BBSRC - SARIC project)

11:10    Working with a complex variable soil - how to mix up treatments and amendments - Craig Livingstone (Farmer), Manager, Lockerley Estate

11:20    Panel question and answer session. Chaired by Lydia Smith, NIAB

11:30    Break

11:40    Cover crops to optimise the use of digestate - Laura Bouvet, Agri-TechE

11:45    Introduction to the EU funded project Hy4Dense technology to understand soil/monitoring. Graham Taylor, Research Scientist, NIAB

11:55    Plantworks bacterial consortium mixes inoculum to use on farm. Natalia Gulbis, Technical and Arable Farming Lead, PlantWorks Ltd

12:02    Recycling waste minerals to provide sustainable crop nutrition. David Harrod, Payne Crop Nutrition Ltd

12:09    Salad/soil activities challenges and resolutions. Adam Lockwood, Managing Director, Lockwood Salads Ltd

12:16    Panel question and answer session. Chaired by Lydia Smith, NIAB

 12:30    End

A delegate information pack (including speaker profiles, agenda and project information) will soon be available to download here - check back again soon.