water and agriculture...the nfu champions british farming and provides professional representation...

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Water and Agriculture Valuing a precious resource The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

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Page 1: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Water and AgricultureValuing a precious resource

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Page 2: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

NFU West Midlands• The Voice of British Farming• Trade association• 9189 members in West

Midlands• All main farming sectors

represented• Working on:

– Agricultural and environmental policy

– Minimising the burden of regulation

– Profitable farm businesses!

Page 3: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Farming Still Matters to the UK• Farming has potential to drive economic growth• £8.84billion GVA is added by farming to the UK economy• Farming underpins the food and drink industry

Page 4: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Farming in the West Midlands• 6,092 registered farm units in the West Midlands

– 1,130 dairy farms– 868 arable farms

• 356,000ha of arable cropping (cereals, oilseeds, potatoes, horticulture)

• 500,000ha grassland and grazing • 26,0000ha woodland

Defra Farm Business Survey of 2011-12

Page 5: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Current water use by agriculture

http://www.defra.gov.uk/farming-advice/files/FAS_Water-efficiency_FINAL.pdf

Page 6: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Significant opportunities for farming

• Expanding populations• Local products and

services• Technology

– Improving environmental performance

– Changing production techniques and seasons

• Climate Change• Energy production• Carbon sinks• Diversification

Page 7: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Water Use In Farming

Page 8: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Dairy• Milk is 85% water • Cows require 60 litres each per day• Mains water supply can cost £31 per cow per year • Water is used for:

– Cattle drinking (50 – 75% of a diary farms usage)– Cooling (up to 25%)– Parlour washing– Collecting yards and parlour washing (5-17%)– Grass growth! (East / West split)

Page 9: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Livestock• Water usage

– 67 litres per kilogram of beef– 49 litres per kilogram of sheep meat

• Hydrological impact is small• Production concentrated in wetter areas• Challenges

– Drought– Water availability – animals drink directly from streams– Quality (animal health impacts)

Page 10: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

2012 Harvest • Wheat = 13.3 million tonnes (-13%)• Barley = 5.5million tonnes (+0.5%)• Oilseed rape = 2.6 million tonnes (-7.3%)

Page 11: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Arable• Dependent on water supply to produce healthy, high-

yielding, good quality crops• Too much or too little water can lead to problems• Cereals and oilseeds are predominantly rain fed crops• Less than 0.3% of the cereal crop receives irrigation• Irrigation is UK agriculture’s largest water use (42% of

water used)• Arable production is concentrated in the drier regions of

the UK

Page 12: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Horticulture• Potatoes, soft fruit, salads, ornamentals.• 172 thousand hectares• Use of polytunnels and glasshouses• Water important for quality as well as yield• Vegetable washing• Significant water planning and

management required

Page 13: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Solutions

Page 14: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Efficient use – dairy sector• Leaks cost a dairy farmer twice!• Data logging• Rain water harvesting• Look at drinking• Alternative water

sources

Page 15: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Efficient use - livestock sector• Farms have potential to reduce water usage:

– Good management and lagging of pipes and drinkers to minimise leakages.

– Using bowsers with small side troughs or drinkers instead of large field troughs to reduce wastage from leaking pipe runs andtrough cleaning.

– Using livestock nose pumps to access local surface and ground water supplies.

– Collecting rainwater from housing roofs to replace tap supplies.

Page 16: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Irrigation• Growers are acutely aware of the need to use water responsibly• Scheduling techniques are used to ensure water is used at exactly

the right time of day to avoid waste– Not in windy conditions– Irrigate at night– Check soil moisture levels to deliver optimum levels of irrigation

• Equipment– Use the correct pump and pipe size– Boom irrigation instead of gun irrigation

• Ensure irrigation is uniform• Trickle irrigation• Many farmers who irrigate store water for use later in the year

Page 17: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Rainwater harvesting• Collection of rainwater from buildings• Simple or complex• Important to consider costs and quality• Can reduce dependence on other sources• Can reduce dirty water runoff

Page 18: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

On farm storage• Secure water supply• Store high flows for summer use• Cost• Planning • Collaboration• Mixed uses?

Page 19: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Technology• Precision farming improved efficiency of field operation:

– Cultivation systems– Precision application of pesticides and nutrients– Yield mapping

• Plant breeding (crops and grass):– Increasing water capture and conversion– Drought resistance– Increasing plants nitrogen use efficiency– Disease and pest resistance

Page 20: Water and Agriculture...The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members Efficient use - livestock sector •

The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members

Summary• There isn’t a single solution• Many competing land

pressures• Collaboration• Water and agricultural land

must be valued by society• There are some big

challenges ahead