Water Sensitive Farming

Water sensitive Farming

The Water Sensitive Farming initiative is working in the Broadland  and  the Cam and Ely Ouse (CamEO) catchments to provide soil and water advice which will benefit farmers and the environment. Through free, confidential and flexible advice, soil and water is being kept on fields for crops to use whilst protecting our rare chalk streams in East Anglia. Bespoke Grants are also available to construct features such as silt traps, bunds, ponds and wetlands.

The project is funded through the EU LIFE and WWF and Coca Cola Freshwater Partnership.

Please use link below for more detail on farm visits available.

Water Sensitive Farming Leaflet

Cam and Ely Ouse Catchment –  CamEO                            Broadland Catchment 

subcatchment-map Broadland rivers catchment (1)










Farming Practices to Benefit Soil and Water





Tramline Disruption


Cover crops in the winter


Buffer strip


Contact the WSF Team for more help and advice:

Ed Bramham-Jones 01263 711299 – CamEO Catchment Farm Advisor

Alison Smyth 01263 711299 – Broadland Catchment Farm Advisor

Neil Punchard – Broadland Catchment Coordinator



Soil is a precious resource and to lose it would be detrimental to the farming landscape in years to come. Soil erosion is a natural process, however, it is exacerbated by modern day farming methods.

The most significant threat facing our soils is from erosion by wind and water. Around 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil is eroded annually in the UK, significantly affecting the productivity of soils and impacting on water quality and aquatic ecosystems through the silting up of watercourses. The total cost of soil erosion is currently estimated at around £45 million per annum including £9 million in lost production (Safeguarding our soils, a strategy for England, Defra, 2009).

We need to find out why some of our farmers do not see soil erosion as an issue, is it lack of knowledge or awareness?  Or is it a choice? Without soil there will not be any arable farming.

We work with Verdesian to limit nutrient loss into surface and groundwater whilst producing high yield crops.



Other Schemes open to Farmers

Countryside Stewardship

Countryside Stewardship provides incentives for land managers to look after their environment. The scheme is open to all eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters and other land managers through a competitive application process.

There are three main elements within Countryside Stewardship:

  • Mid Tier: multi-year agreements for environmental improvements in the wider countryside, including multi-year management options and capital grants;
  • Higher Tier: multi-year agreements for environmentally significant sites, commons and woodlands where more complex management requires support from Natural England or the Forestry Commission, including management options and capital grants; and
  • Capital grants: a range of 1 to 2 year grants for hedgerows and boundaries, improving water quality, developing implementation plans, feasibility studies, woodland creation (establishment), woodland improvement and tree health.

H2OK? and the Voluntary Initiative

Screenshot 2014-04-29 10.39.44In 2001 the Government accepted proposals put forward by the farming and crop protection industry to minimise the environmental impacts from pesticides. The programme was developed as an alternative to a pesticide tax which had been under consideration by the Government.

By 2006 the programme had met or exceeded the vast majority of its targets. In the light of this, the VI Steering Group proposed to Ministers that The Voluntary Initiative should continue as a rolling two year programme. These proposals were welcomed by the Government and the VI has continued since as a voluntary programme of work promoting responsible pesticide use.

Nutrient Management Planning

RB209 available below.

Screenshot 2014-04-29 10.40.39


Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers (the ‘CoGAP’) consolidates and updates the former three separate codes for water, soil and air. The publication offers practical interpretation of legislation and provides good advice on best practice; ‘good agricultural practice’ means a practice that minimises the risk of causing pollution while protecting natural resources and allowing economic agriculture to continue. It has been written by technical specialists from Defra and Natural England.

All farm staff and contractors on the farm who handle, store, use, spread or dispose of any substances that could pollute water, soil or air should be aware of their responsibilities and know about the causes and results of pollution. They should know how and when to operate and maintain the equipment they use, and know what to do in an emergency.

The CoGScreenshot 2014-04-29 10.39.01AP provides an important point of reference, based around the main operations that farmers, growers and land managers might undertake; the advice covers activities carried out in the field, but also management plans, farm infrastructure and waste management.

Click on the image on the left to access the documents.