A WORKSHOP helping farmers to get to grips with soil and water health was held in Stocksfield last week.

Organised by Cross Catchment Partnership, made up of local and national environmental and farming bodies, the event took place at Nafferton Farm, and was attended by more than 30 farmers from the district.

Speaking at the event was plant and soil specialist Jamie Stotzka from Frontier Agriculture, who taught farmers how to better understand their soil, and better protect it through reducing chemicals and fertilisers which can be damaging. Jamie also discussed how soil testing worked, and how farmers could learn on their own to analyse their soil health.

Amongst those involved in organising the event was the Tyne Rivers Trust. Farm liaison officer Danielle Anderson-Walker said that the event provided a opportunity to keep farmers up to date with new water legislation’s and alongside soil health.

“Most farmers know the water rules, but since the introduction of the new water rules in April, which came with a new name and different terminology, it can be difficult for farmers to know exactly what has changed,” she said.

“Since the introduction of the new rules, we’re still finding on farms that muck heaps are being kept close to water sources, or that cattle are poaching the banks resulting in sentiment running into the water course.

“The soil workshop gave us a chance to talk about these issues with farmers in the Tyne Valley directly, and what they can do to help protect our river. The feedback we’ve received has been very promising.”