Water and Soils survey
Most farmers have experienced changes in the pattern of rainfall and they seen this as the biggest challenged they face over the next few years.
They have few problems with drainage. There is a greater requirement for investment in water storage facilities than irrigation equipment though cost is a problem. Compaction, waterlogging and poaching are the biggest soil problems facing farmers.
The Water and Soils Survey 2012 report was compiled through the Royal Agricultural Society for England. There were questions under four topics, climate, drainage, irrigation and soils. The main points are summarised below, but to read the report please click here.
73% of respondents have noticed a change in the pattern of rainfall. This figure is similar across all regions in England with the exception of the North East and North West, where respondents had noticed any change.
83% of farms surveyed have some form of drainage on their farm with clay tile of pipe under drainage being the most common (73%). Problems with drainage were not found to be widespread, with the majority of respondents (77%) not having had any problems during the last five years.
Irrigation is used by 13% of the farms surveyed. While the area irrigated varies with farm size and region, nearly half (46%) of all those irrigating are covering less than 50ha and 65% les than 100ha. The annual cost for all this varies but is generally no more than £50,000.
The majority of farmers (92%) are undertaking soil testing every five years, with over one third testing on an annual basis. Overall compaction, waterlogging, and poaching are the biggest problems affecting soil.