Through the Wharfe Flood Levy Group and the local levy, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust have been awarded funding to work with farmers across the catchment to demonstrate the benefits of aeration for improved soil health and flood risk reduction.
Why is aeration important?
Compacted soils have poor soil structure with less space available for air and water. A healthy soil structure, however, has more space for air and water to be held in place and to be filtered through.
In grassland fields, compaction leads to reduced grass growth from poor rooting, reduced nutrient uptake, increased weed burden, increased water logging in wet periods and decreased water availability in dry periods. Compacted soil structures act as a form of barrier to water, leading to an increased risk of run-off of water, soil and nutrients. Bad news for farming productivity, and bad news for the environment due to effects on water quality and flood risks.
In 2024 we are hosting a soil aeration day, focusing on mechanical aeration whilst also considering the benefits of deep rooting plant species and other methods of avoiding and removing compaction.
Through engagement, we want to find out the best way to support farmers across the catchment in future years to help them maintain healthy soils for the benefit of farming and flood risk reduction. The more feedback we get, the better we can shape what we do in the future to fit what people want and need in the catchment.
If you are interested in attending our event, talking aeration across the Wharfe or want to register interest in any future support with on farm soil aeration, please get in touch.