Welsh Farm Practice Survey 2011-12

A survey of c 600 Welsh farms to assess whether enrolment in agri-environmental schemes had led to any robust differences in farm practices, and to evaluate whether there were any differences between specific welsh agri-environment schemes (Tir Cynnal, Tir Gofal, Organic Farming Schemes) and non scheme members. The selection of farms for the final sample database was made by ADAS on the basis of scheme type, farm type (Dairy, Cattle and Sheep - Less Favoured Area, Cattle and Sheep - Lowland), agricultural region and farm size.

The objectives of the survey were to quantify:
• Changes in whole farm livestock numbers and / or fertiliser application rates as a result of entering a scheme, by comparison of data aggregated across farm types;
• Differences in the uptake of mitigation methods due to the completion of Farm Management Plans between farms in and out of scheme, by comparison of data aggregated across the Tir Gofal and Tir Cynnal schemes with the data for non-scheme farm types; and
• Provision of supplementary baseline farm practice information (not a comparison between farm or scheme type).

Aspects of the Wales Farm Practice Survey (WFPS) were also intended to provide baseline information on farm management in Wales, such as:

Fertiliser Management - the use of manufactured Nitrogen and Phosphate fertiliser and the sources of expertise used to estimate crop nutrient requirement.

Grazing Livestock Management - the proportion of farms on which livestock have direct access to watercourses for drinking, observed signs of poaching and whether livestock walk through watercourses.

Land Drainage - the proportion of arable and grassland area drained by artificial field drains.

Manure Management - the proportion of farms managing manure as slurry and slurry application methods.

Pesticide Management - the percentage of farms using pesticides and average pesticide applications to grass and arable land.

Veterinary Medicine Management - average yearly visits by veterinarians, average yearly cost of veterinary visits and medication, the use of organic treatments and livestock dip disposal methods.

Yard Management - the proportion of farms using different farm yard run off management techniques.

A new Welsh farm survey has been proposed and it will be produced in the coming years.