Gleanings - AF Weekly news summary
30th August 2023
Here’s what caught our eyes and ears in the agri news from UK and further afield this week.
Tree planting go-slow
Here at AF we are gearing up for tree planting season. You may already have read our recent article and details of how we can support you. Farmers Weekly is reporting news from DEFRA that tree planting targets are being missed, despite the England Woodland Creation Offer grant funding.
In England the target is to plant 7,500 ha a year, but just 3,627 ha of new woodland, including on farmland, was planted in the past year.
DEFRA said “By planting trees, farmers will not only improve their land, enrich biodiversity and the wider environment, but will make a long-term investment in their business while maintaining their farm’s main agricultural output.”
It is planned to include an offer for in-field agroforestry in the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will be available in 2024.
Pint-sized prosperity: micro greenhouses transforming Indian farms
Indiaspend.com tell of Indian farmer Kanakajah who was in debt and losing crop yield due to drought, and his plight was acute enough for him to consider suicide. He lives in Pamulaparthy village in Siddipet district of Telangana.
However things started looking up two years ago when he was introduced to greenhouse farming by a Hyderabad-based NGO Kheyti.
By building a micro-greenhouse on 4 guntas (0.1 acre) of his land, Kanakajah radically improved his farming fortunes. Previously he and his wife worked hard in the fields month after month, and all that increased was their debt as drought and dried boreholes took their toll.
That is until they were introduced to Kheyti’s greenhouse-in-a-box kit, which is a modular greenhouse with a gravity watering system. It costs Rs 1 lakh, which is 50% less than a regular greenhouse.
Kanakajah said, “The greenhouse requires very less water and doesn’t need as much labour input. Now, only me and my wife work in the greenhouse, which has helped me save Rs 50,000 per season on water and labour expenses.”
Khyeti has been able to help over 1,000 farmers, and they also train their clients in accessing mobile-based advice, marketing their crops and help with applying for bank loans.
Squeaky clean: pig farm pioneers ammonia-harvesting
FarmingUK brings news of a project to harvest ammonia and reduce the environmental impact of livestock emissions. The researchers will be looking at a number of key areas of production, and running trials to help the sector move to more sustainable methods, with the support of £600,000 provided by government.
The project has multiple stakeholders having been initiated by AHDB, with the University of Leeds, Beta Technology and the newest partner, Membracon. They have a technology called downflow gas contactor (DGC) which is able to separate gases, similar to the methane filters seen in gas-to-grid AD plants.
The innovative technology was installed last month on the North Yorkshire trial pig farm, and will hopefully enable the reduction in ammonia emissions, with the by-product of the process being available as a fertiliser. There is also a hope that hydrogen could be generated.
Aman Sohl from Membracon said: “The DGC will be used on this project to help generate a route for the livestock sector to become truly sustainable.”
And tweet of the week…