A CUTTING-edge solution to overcoming the difficulties of farming on wet, boggy Cumbrian land was discussed at a workshop in Kendal.

'Paludiculture', developed in Germany, looks into growing crops more suited to the wet land as opposed to attempting to dry out fields to grow traditional crops in an inefficient way.

Experts from Germany, joined delegates from the UK to discuss how concepts developed in Europe could be applied to Cumbria, helping provide an environmental and economic sustainable way of farming naturally wet areas.

Workshop delegates visited Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve and the Lyth Valley, which has seen serious flooding in recent years, to see the specific issues faced by landowners and conservationists managing land in one of the wettest parts of England.

Neil Harnott, senior conservation officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: "This wet system could benefit farmers as they are using the fields for something they are more naturally suited to. They would be using the natural rainfall, rather than struggling to keep fields dry.

"We had this conference to share ideas on how the wet system could be used in Cumbria.

"One thing we will look into is the use of rushes as a fodder crop. We will be researching their nutritional value, but there is a lot of potential there.

"Other wet crops include Sphagnum, a type of bal moss, which is used in horticulture.

"We also found that the pharmaceutical industry farm sun dews in wetlands. These are natural to Cumbria's peaty bogs."

Paludiculture means the use of re-wetted peatlands, however Cuymbria Wildlife Trust intend to apply it to wet farming on different types of land.

Sarah Johnson, paludiculture officer for CWTt said: "Paludiculture is a relatively new concept in the UK, but projects in Germany show paludicultural systems may have the potential to provide sustainable, economically viable solutions for wetlands, and be beneficial for agriculture, conservation and ecosystem services in such habitats.

"An important aim of this event was to offer networking opportunities and we hope the interactive workshops, evening social and field trip has inspired debate among participants on the potential of paludiculture in the UK."