Chishill has had a biobed for more than five years and while it was not the first in the UK it was one of the earliest biobeds to be commissioned here.
The biobed is a natural way to dispose of dilute sprayer washings: they pass through a soil/compost/straw substrate which degrades any pesticide into Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and so on with the treated water then being passed on to a fenced area alongside. This is a natural process, something which happens to all products in the soil, only the substrate with the high level of highly active organic matter acts quicker.
Also having a meeting room made the farm an ideal location to host the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) Biobed Workshop in conjunction with LEAF (Linking the Environment and Farming) and Natural England on the 27th February.
It was a bit of a squash and a squeeze getting the thirty people into the room, but we managed it, albeit a bit hot before I opened the door outside.
The morning started with a welcome from me, Andrew Down from Natural England introduced CSF and Kathryn Mitchell introduced LEAF before we then got into the real meat of the morning with Bill Basford, who is well recognised as probably ‘the’ expert on biobeds in the UK. Good practice for all aspects of spray use were covered as well as some interesting facts and figures: Did you know that the legal threshold for pesticides in water is less than the equivalent of one pence in £100,000,000?