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Podcast / Food Futures
Podcast / Food Futures

What can be done to ensure that agricultural practices are sustainable?

For people around the world to be truly healthy, they need access to a balanced diet containing all of the essential primary, secondary and micro nutrients. Where does our food get its nutrients from? The soil. How can we build a sustainable future, ensure agricultural practices are sustainable, feed a growing population, and protect our soil nutrients and arable land at the same time?

The key is promoting farming practices that are profitable for farmers, environmentally sound, and good for communities, and the correct use of fertilisers has a key role to play. In this podcast, in partnership with Anglo American’s Crop Nutrients, we look at the challenges farmers face, and how balanced crop nutrition and sustainable crop production offers the perfect solution to ensure that agricultural practices are sustainable.

About our panel

Robert Meakin, Crop Science Director, Anglo American’s Crop Nutrients

Robert Meakin manages the research and development, crop science function and the POLY4 global agronomy programme. POLY4 is the trademark name of Anglo American Crop Nutrients polyhalite product. Polyhalite is a naturally occurring, evaporite mineral that will be mined at the Woodsmith Mine in North Yorkshire, England. Sustainability and low environmental impact is a central theme which runs through the entire Woodsmith Project, one of the largest engineering projects in Europe. It has been specifically designed to blend into the landscape, with all key infrastructure hidden beneath the surface. As a whole company, Anglo American have targeted a 30% reduction in operational GHG emissions by 2030 and have a long-term plan to become carbon neutral across the operations by 2040.

Multi-nutrient and low chloride POLY4 fertiliser contains four of the six essential macro nutrients – potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium – required for crop growth and a range of micro nutrients including iron, boron and zinc. Using this natural material means that it not only improves yield and quality of crops through provision of a balanced nutrition but, due to an environmentally considerate production process, POLY4 can also be used by farmers who choose to adopt organic farming practices.

Santiago Bernal, Innovation Director, Cefetra Iberica

Santiago is the innovation director at Cefetra – a Spanish farmer services company that is part of BayWa, the Bavarian farm services giant. With their platform they serve farmers and ranchers across all Spanish geographies and crop types providing fertilising solutions and digital farming services, promoting the use of technology to optimise farmer income, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and bridge the rural gap.

Marshall Taylor, farmer, Volis Farm, Somerset

Marshall, together with his eldest daughter Caroline, runs a dairy herd farm near Taunton in Somerset. They now run around 280 cross-bred milk cows to produce a profit from milk off grass that is then also used in the production of local cheeses. At Marshall’s Volis Farm, profit is optimised by focusing on soil health. A soil system in nutrient balance, which respects the environment, maintains ecosystems and returns carbon to the soil, is Marshall’s target for optimum performance.

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