Changing the future of food and farming

IBERS Impacts of organic farming in the uplands

Event Date : January 26, 2011

The latest research results on the impacts of organic farming in the uplands will be presented at IBERS, Plas Gogerddan, SY23 3EB on Wednesday 26 January. The event is being organized by Organic Centre Wales as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme and should be of interest to all farmers.

Farmers will also have an opportunity to find out how they can make the most of Glastir options and investigate other management strategies.

Regardless of farming system, managing native grassland is a challenge for most upland farmers. The low nutritional value of these swards together with declining stock numbers have led to under-grazing and abandonment becoming major threats to biodiversity in many areas.

Dr Mariecia Fraser of IBERS will present findings from a recently completed research project ’’Biodiversity and other beneficial environmental impacts of organic conversion in hills and uplands’’ assessing the impact on biodiversity of organic conversion on upland farms in England and Wales.

She says: “This is the first time detailed habitat mapping has been used to investigate the effects of different farming systems on hill and upland farms, and the results obtained have implications for both conventional and organic farmers.”

The study also explored the socio-economic implications of organic conversion for upland farmers . According to ADAS consultant David Frost who will present these findings, “hill farming communities face many disadvantages with low farm incomes contributing to a general picture of rural decline. So it’s important to see how far organic farming in the uplands can bring the kind of benefits to businesses and communities that we have seen in many lowland situations.”

Finally, participants will be able to find out about other land use options for unimproved, semi-natural vegetation. PROGRASS is a 3.5 year LIFE+ project exploring the potential of extensive management for bio-energy. Participants will hear more about this exciting new concept, and have an opportunity to visit the demonstration processing plant.

The Farming Connect Organic Development Programme receives funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The event begins 10.45am and ends at 3.00pm, with a light lunch and tea. Attendance is free but you should book a place with Pat Elkins, Organic Centre Wales,
or 01970 622248.

Further information
Heather McCalman, IBERS, , 01970 823026.

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