Andy Rumming talking to the group at Waterhay Farm near Swindon.
Thanks to Environment Agency and Wye Valley AONB Wye Water Resources Project we took a bus and a few farm trucks to visit Andy’s beef system on the Thames floodplain.
It was a great opportunity to visit a farm producing high quality beef and leather in a low cost grass-fed system on flower rich floodplain meadows and pastures; making the best use of water on the farm plus many other benefits
Andy was very open about the economics of his system and how he makes it work with the climate and ecological challenges facing floodplain farmers.
We had a great time and really good discussion about the multiple environmental benefits of his system for increased water holding capacity in his soils, drought and flood resilience. He also took a dive into cattle genetics, plant diversity and grazing systems on the floodplain as well as the marketing of the end product being such an important driver for floodplain meadow sustainability. We saw great burnet, snakes head fritillary, meadow sweet, bird’s foot trefoil and more. It gave the farmers who attended lots to think about and has inspired the advisers on the visit about what may be possible on the River Wye floodplain
You can read the leaflet that Andy prepared for our visit about the farm, the meat, leather and glamping site.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to North Meadow SSSI, NNR where Andy also grazes and makes hay; it was closed due to recent flooding. But that means we’ll be making another visit so that more Herefordshire Meadows members can enjoy the experience we had last week.
A big thank you to Andy, Richard and Janeanne who hosted us, for the delicious lunch Andy cooked and inspiring tour of the farm.