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Jane Lane

Jane Lane

Director at Westmorland Chapel Farm Ltd

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Jane Lane By Jane

Overview: In Feb 2021 the research team spoke to each of the seven farms in order to learn more about how the land was being farmed (production approaches, ecological approaches) and the interests of the farmers in different aspects around soils. Using maps and satellite imagery of the landscape we had a virtual tour of each farm- exploring natural and human caused variations across the landscape and the future plans each person had for their farm.

The farm cluster is particularly exciting to work with because of the variation of different farming approaches within a small area and the ambition of ecological restoration projects happening across the cluster, either by individuals and also collectively on the commons.

Key themes of interest from the cluster:
Common themes
● Soil health to increase production efficiency- understanding and interest in the group in improving soil health so as to enable reductions in inputs, increase productivity of grass growth, increased nutrition of the grass (mentioned by some)
● Soil health (in particular soil structure) to increase ecosystem services-such as water infiltration/flood prevention,, biodiversity- Questions around differences in how grass management impacts on these (hay-meadows, intensive silage, diverse swards)
● Carbon footprinting/carbon balance of farm- some already working on benchmarking around carbon. Questions came up around:
○ carbon balance in field (soil-grass growth-off take)-
○ carbon balance of trees vs. grassland-
○ carbon balance post-reseeding.
Acknowledgement that carbon footprint tools do not account for soil carbon processes very well or in ways that are meaningful.
● Many of the farms have patches of less extensively managed land/remenants of woodland and plans to plant trees/create vegetated boundaries. There is an interest in looking at the soil health differences between these planted areas/remenants/margins and other areas of the surrounding fields.

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