The greatest fear to land managers in the East of England is the “fear of the flood and fear of the drought”.
Land managers together with national government and their advisory bodies have been considering how to minimise interruptions to water supplies during prolonged dry weather and drought as well as protect against further episodes of flooding for many years.
The two key issues facing the 21st Century are food security and climate change. There is a clear opportunity for British farming to become a global leader in delivering food security while meeting the challenges of net zero and climate change. The key to the delivery of more integrated management of water will be the construction of better, more innovative water infrastructure (built interventions as well as the way we manage land) that recognises and adequately values its benefit to the environment, communities and the economy.
We have supported a farm business in Suffolk who farm a rotational mix of cereals, sugar beet, oilseed rape, potatoes and onions on good quality flexible soils to successfully attract Countryside Productivity funding to build an 80,000 m3 clay lined reservoir. Thirty percent of the farm’s output is through root crops and onions. With additional water through irrigation this acreage has been increased further to improve the overall businesses performance, improve profitability, productivity and utilisation of the land and will meet a growing market demand as we Brexit from the EU. It will improve the quality and marketability of the crops, increase cropping options and improve and protect the farm’s future financial security as it faces the challenges that lie ahead for the industry.