New Eden dairy unit has state-of-the-art environmental features

NEWTON Rigg College’s new dairy unit will include new state-of-the-art environmental features aimed at protecting water quality and wildlife habitats and reducing flood risk.

The £2m unit currently under construction at Sewborens Farm near Penrith will include a range of equipment and practices which demonstrate how modern, commercial dairy farming can address ecological issues.

Newton Rigg College has already installed guttering, drainage, storage tanks and ponds around the farm buildings to capture and store rain water.

With over an acre of new roof and one metre of rainfall annually in the Penrith area, this equates to 5,000 cubic metres or five million litres of water a year.

The rainwater harvesting pond will overflow in to a new wetland area which will store and clean water. Students will then be able to manage the site for wildlife as part of their studies.

More than £100,000 is being contributed to the Sewborwens project through Eden Rivers Trust’s European-funded Adaptive Land use for Flood Alleviation (ALFA) project.

It will be used to give students the opportunity to work with the latest farm technology and machinery for managing soils, water runoff and nutrients - including an aerator, a subsoiler to break up compaction of the soil and allow water to infiltrate the ground more easily, and a GPS system to ensure fertilisers are applied to the correct areas of land.

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Leading scientists from the field of river catchment management will visit the farm through the Defra funded Eden Demonstration Test Catchment Project - a national scheme looking at ways of improving farms and farming practices to reduce water pollution from agriculture.

The scientists will use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to demonstrate the impact of the best practices at Sewborwens on water quality.

Eden Rivers Trust director Simon Johnson said: “The initiatives at Sewborwens Farm reflect many of the projects that Eden Rivers Trust is carrying out with farmers throughout the Eden catchment to improve rivers and the environment for people and wildlife.”

Newton Rigg College principal Wes Johnson said: “This fantastic collaboration between Eden Rivers Trust and Newton Rigg College will create a powerful education resource for students and local farm businesses to demonstrate how modern farming and environmental management can work together for mutual benefit.”


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