MEADOWS FORUM 2023 – a full house and massive enthusiasm for Diverse Swards

On 23rd September 2023 over 70 people took part in 5th Herefordshire Meadows FORUM, the first since 2020

James Hawkins, Herefordshire Meadows chaired our inaugural AGM as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and reported on activities since the CIO was formed on 2 March 2022. He also updated us on the many  achievements of group members since the last FORUM in 2020.  More on that to follow in separate NEWS POST

NIkki Yoxall, farmer and Pasture for Life head of research,  confirmed what many members have experienced about the value of permanent diverse swards. She explained how the power of natural processes and healthy relationships between soil, sward and livestock combine to produce food in profitable agroecological systems that achieve maximum ruminant growth from grass and broadleaved herbs.  Nikki challenged us to value nature connectedness, (see Derby University research), to think differently and let go of some of the fixed ideas and habits that hold us back from making transition and change

Infographic below by Clive BrightNikki covered a wide range of research that can be found at this link to Centre for Ecology and Hydrology SEEGSLIP project as well as Chris Clark and Nethergill “sweetspot” or Maximum Sustainable Output  from Nethergill Associates  There was time for discussion with Richard Thomas and Lucinda Lewis.

We then heard from Ben Andrews about meadows restorations at Broadward and Hatfield in the 2022 WWF Botanica Airwick Project and from Alison Pritchard’s restoration at Urishay in 2021 in the Green Recovery Challenge Fund project with Plantlife. Meadows Adviser Carys Solman presented on seed harvesting and the importance of all the wonderful donor sites that members have offered around the county since 2019.  We finished with a look at Future Plans and projects for 2024 and beyond summarised by Rory Johnson and Caroline Hanks.

Huge thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to the discussion. To the speakers and helpers.

Please send feedback and comments to your Meadows Adviser or any of the Trustees.