06 August 2021

Defra has announced the expansion of the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme to cover every farm in England in the hope of protecting water pollution from farming. The programme provides free advice to farmers to help them reduce water and air pollution through the management of farmyard manure and soils among other things. The new annual budget will be £30m, up from £16.6m in 2020/21.

The Environment Agency has also issued new guidance on the spreading of organic manure on agricultural land, which is set to affect farmers and land managers in England. This is to clarify the requirements of Rule 1 of the Farming Rules for Water. The application of organic manure must be planned so that it does not either exceed the needs of the soil or crop on that land or give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution. This will be enforced from March 2022.

A petition launched on Thursday urges the government to ban all use of synthetic pesticides in gardens and urban areas to create nature-friendly habitats where insects can recover. The campaign, backed by the RSPB, the Soil Association and others hopes the government will follow the example of France which banned the use of these pesticides in public spaces in 2017, and gardens from 2019.

The latest EU guidelines on wildfire prevention outline a new strategy to deal with the threat. This includes managing land sustainably and monitoring climate change and other risk factors. The report highlights the importance of soil and its protection. 

German environmental organisations are calling for flood protection measures to be improved and for a change to the way agricultural soils are used weeks after the flash floods the country witnessed. The organisations are demanding that regulations be introduced to ensure a year-round soil cover and diverse crop rotations to ensure the agricultural sector helps mitigate flood risk.

The most complete hydrological data set for the African continent reveals that soil moisture, not heavy precipitation, best explains the timing of Africa’s most severe floods. These results have important implications for flood forecasting and the analysis of the long-term evolution of these hydrological hazards in relation with their drivers. 

Farm24, agriculture's biggest online event showcasing what UK farmers do in a typical working day, ran from the 5th to the 6th August. The 24 hours event celebrates British farming and offers valuable insights into where and how food is produced and the roles and responsibilities taken on by farmers.

A farm in Devon will be one of twelve trial sites in the UK being used to develop natural solutions to storing carbon and combating climate change. Owned by the Wildlife Trust, the work will help areas of the farm to return to 'natural processes' to allow the soil to recover. 

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