ORC at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Katie Bliss introducing a workshop at ORFC

ORC and Agricology kick-started 2019 with the Oxford Real Farming Conference along with around 1000 farmers, growers, researchers and others. Celebrating its tenth year, the sell-out event focused on the opportunities and possible threats surrounding the future of the UK’s food and farming sector. The Agriculture Bill and farming post Brexit were at the top of the agenda and Michael Gove’s attendance sparked widespread discussion. Agroforestry – in particular Silvopasture also proved a popular topic, although throughout the two days the 240 speakers involved and 100 sessions covered a breadth of subjects from sustainable soil management to ecosystems, water management, rewilding, local abattoirs, plastics, pollution and supply chains.

Agricology – in association with the Pasture Fed Livestock Association & Soil Association- hosted a number of sessions with a focus on the practical application of agroecology. There were a great selection of speakers and a wide range of topics – selected and coordinated by ORC’s Katie Bliss. The speakers, who made the Farming Practice sessions possible came together from a variety of organisations including the Organic Research Centre, ADAS, Rothamstead Research, AHDB and CEH and there was also a strong representation of farmers and growers including Julian Gold (Hendred Farm), Joe Howard (Little Morton Farm), Jez Taylor (Daylesford Market Garden) and Andrew Howard (Bockhanger Farms).

Throughout the two days the speakers shared key learnings and case studies from a mixture of research and the practical application of techniques on core topics including: the Ley of the Land, integrating leys in cropping systems, chaired by Samantha Mullender, a very popular session on Silvopasture: Planting for Shelter and Forage with Lindsay Whistance presenting, and a session with Charlotte Bickler presenting on Plant Teams for the Future. We also had some entertaining insights from Jez Taylor on Daylesford’s Market Garden on the topic of Plants in the Wrong Place and some brilliant live samples in the session on how to Manage Pests Biologically. As well as the Farming Practice room Agricology coordinated several breakout sessions for practitioners and scientists to delve deeper into the subject matter and field further questions. The popularity of all of the sessions was evident by volume of people in attendance and the interest in these subjects by an engaged audience. All these sessions (along with a number of additional ones) can be found on the Agricology YouTube channel, with thanks to Olivia Davies for filming and uploading so efficiently. See also below.

Envirovisuals graphic representation of the Silvopasture workshop

Videos from the Conference of ORC researchers in action!

Silvopasture: Planting for Shelter & Forage – Lindsay Whistance, Organic Research Centre

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Plant Teams for the Future: Intercropping in Research & Practice – Charlotte Bickler, ORC

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Can Increasing Crop Diversity Make Our Farming Systems More Resilient to Pests, Weeds & Disease?

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See more videos at Agricology playlist

Audio will be available at http://orfc.org.uk/orfc-2019/

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