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Farmers and wildlife set to benefit from soil sampling scheme

Farmers on the Llyn peninsula are being encouraged to sign up for Natural Resources Wales’s free soil sampling scheme that can benefit their business and nature.

Getting the right nutrient levels on farm land is vital for water quality in nearby rivers, streams and wetlands. It can also save money for farmers.

The soil sampling service is being offered exclusively to farmers in Pen Llyn to help conserve the chain of internationally important lime-rich fens that run across the peninsula - Cors Geirch, Cors Edern, Cors Hirdre and Aber Geirch.

These lime-rich fens depend on the springs and groundwater that feed them. They are home to a wealth of rare plants and insects, supporting birds and all sorts of animals, making them great places to enjoy nature its best.

Last year, seven farms neighbouring the fens signed up to the NRW service. By following the nutrient management plan, produced from results of soil testing, the farmers saved an average £52 per hectare or £225 per field.

For some farms there was a saving of up to £77 per hectare through an overall reduction in use of nitrates and phosphorus.  

Nichola Taylor, NRW agriculture adviser said: “Without soil sampling and a nutrient management plan it’s impossible to tell whether the amount of fertiliser is right for the crop and used sustainably. By getting the balance right, we hope to improve the quality of water running into the Llyn Fens Special Area of Conservation.”

Farmers in Pen Llyn are encouraged to contact NRW on 0300 065 3761 to register their interest before the end of August 2016.

These fens were given a helping hand over the last few years through the Anglesey and Llyn Fens LIFE project – still one of Europe’s largest wetland restoration projects which restored or improved 751 hectares (well over 1,000 football pitches in North West Wales).

Farmers in other areas can also benefit from soil sampling and nutrient management planning by contacting the Farming Connect Service Centre on 0845 600 0813, or visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/ for more information.

In addition, farms selected for Glastir Advanced Water Quality can also benefit from receiving and following a nutrient management plan for the areas of the farm draining into a priority area.

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