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Slow crop germination coupled with heavy rainfall is a concern for water quality

Recent heavy storms have caused additional concerns for farmers at an already busy time of year. The cold spring has meant that crops have been slow to germinate, leaving soil bare and vulnerable to erosion and damage.

A recent run-off event at the Southrepps Estate, following a heavy rain and hailstorm, saw soil and water flowing down the compacted wheelings of an onion field, out of the gateway and into the road. This road happens to run down to the River Mun, a globally rare chalk stream.

These events can be devastating to rivers and their water quality, particularly when occurring across an entire river catchment.

Water running down tramlines

Soil leaving field at low point

Fortunately, the Southrepps Estate was quick to respond. Within 24hrs of the first rainfall event, a specialist machine – known as the ‘Wonder Wheel’ – was employed to travel up and down the rows, creating mini slits and dams to re-direct the run-off back into the growing crop.

Our ‘Water Sensitive Farming (WSF)’ Initiative works with farmers across the region to deliver practical on-farm measures that improve the quality and resilience of the surrounding water environment.

The Southrepps Estate has been working with WSF for several years to improve water management across the Estate.

Find out more here.

The 'Wonder Wheel' in action

Tramline on left: pre-Wonder Wheel pass, with heavily ‘capped’ soil. Tramline on right: post-Wonder Wheel, with mini dams and slits created to ‘slow the flow’ of water passing down the row

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