MAFF offers farmers methods to reduce nitrates run-off

Research funded by the UK ministry of agriculture, MAFF, into leaching of nitrate-rich fertilisers into British rivers has resulted in practical techniques for use by farmers.

“We had reached a stage that we felt we could produce results that pointed to practical methods that farmers can use,” a MAFF spokesperson told edie. The results of ten years’ of MAFF nitrates-related research were presented at a conference called Tackling Nitrates from Agriculture: Strategy from Science.

Opening the conference, countryside minister Elliot Morley, accepted that agriculture has increased its yields over the last 50 years, but that the way in which yields have grown has not always involved adequate care for the environment.

Morley stopped short of calling on UK farmers to reduce nitrate use, but did emphasise that a more intelligent use of nitrates on the soil can reduce the amount of nitrates leached to watercourses by a substantial amount.

MAFF has sought to demonstrate that farmers can reduce their costs by a more careful use of the fertilisers. “In the short term, there’s money savings in it for farmers,” said a MAFF spokesperson.

Research regarding nitrates continues to be funded by MAFF.

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