Win Win Solutions for Water Friendly Farming

Total budget: 134824

Main funding sourceRural development 2014-2020 for Operational Groups (in the sense of Art 56 of Reg.1305/2013)
Project typeOperational group
Starting date2020
End date2023

This project aims to develop innovative and integrated win-win solutions for our rivers and our farmers, using nature-based, productive solutions that protect the water environment whilst maintaining and improving productivity of farm business. Our solutions will be accessible, affordable, easily integrated into the farming business, generate win-win benefits and will be scalable to the 2,586 dairy farms and 19,587 beef/sheep farms in Northern Ireland.

The Operational Group will carry out a feasibility study in which scientific partners will work with the farmer members in the group to develop and trial a series of Productive Water-Management Systems: nature-based water management features that will contribute to enhancing the environment, and have the potential to make a positive contribution to the profitability of the farm business. 

Monitoring systems will be set up to collect data and assess the effectiveness of the trials. This information will then be used to encourage further uptake of these innovative nature based solutions

Water poses a constant management problem for farmers in Northern Ireland (NI). On average around 1000mm of precipitation falls on every square meter of NI each year. If not adequately diverted and/or collected, this water makes its way across farms picking up contaminants, such as, nutrients, chemicals and soil.  Agricultural contamination of watercourses often results in legal action against the farmer, resulting in fines, loss of subsidies and even custodial sentences. In 2017, farming accounted for the largest proportion (30%) of substantiated water pollution incidents investigated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, not only impacting the environment but causing reputational damage to the farming sector and NI-Agri-produce.  Mismanagement of water costs farm businesses time and money, where profit margins are already tight and time in short supply, especially with part-time farmers.

There are a lot of ideas and technologies on how water pollution from farms could be reduced or prevented, but our experience in the Ballinderry River over the last 25 years is that, these are often not readily or widely taken up by farmers because they are not well understood; are too costly; require long-term maintenance; inhibit productivity on the farm or they do not provide any benefit to the farm business.

Contact person: Ballinderry Rivers Trust

Address: 231a Orritor Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, BT80 9NBE


Phone: 00447572287509

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