Norfolk FWAG staff recently attended a water and tramline event, organised by the Broadland Catchment Partnership. At this event, they were able to watch a demonstration of the Wheel Track Roller and the Simba Aqueel as currently used on a working farm.
Recent trials 2005 – 2008 (MOPS1) focused on winter cereals and reported that tramlines accounted for over 80% of over winter losses of phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment in surface run-off on moderate slopes on both lighter and heavier soils.
Tramline management was able to reduce sediment and nutrient losses by 72-99%. Trials 2008 – 2013 (MOPS2) focused on spring growing crops, particularly potatoes. The Wheel Track Roller was significantly better than the other options available at reducing run-off.
In combinable crop tramlines, the Roller reduced run-off from 67.6 mm of rainfall from 23.9% to just 1.9%. The reduction in a potato crop was even greater, where a combined irrigation and rainfall of 243 mm produced just 2.4 mm or 1% run-off from the field area when the machine was used.
Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and magnitude in line with climate change predictions. This kit may help to future proof some aspects of farming and improve water efficiency. Capital payments towards equipment for the disruption of tramlines are likely to be available to farmers under the New Environmental Land Management Schemes (NELMS).
The Broadland Catchment Partnership is a range of organisations working together to improve the water environment and provide wider benefits to people and nature within the Broadland Rivers Catchment.