Watercress grower to work with angling body on river discharge best practice

Vitacress Salads has announced it will work with Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) to help reduce phosphate outputs from the watercress industry.

Image: Wendell Smith (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Wendell Smith (CC BY 2.0)

Phosphate and invertebrate sampling commissioned by S&TC on the River Itchen, a Special Area of Conservation, has indicated the river is suffering from excess phosphates and fine sediment from a variety of sources.

With Vitacress planning to bring its Pinglestone Farm on the river back to full commercial production in 2018, S&TC, together with Portsmouth University, will continuously monitor phosphate output at the site. It will work with Vitacress to develop effective farming and water management methods to resolve any issues that the monitoring uncovers.

S&TC chief executive Paul Knight said: "We believe continuous monitoring of phosphate levels in industry discharges is the only way to fully capture seasonal peaks and better understand the impacts these discharges are having on the river.

"We applaud Vitacress for working with us to go beyond the EA’s current monthly spot checks to properly monitor the impact of the watercress industry on the river environment. We will work together to ensure this data drives improvements in the river's ecology, while ensuring watercress is a truly environmentally sustainable product."

Vitacress Salads managing director Chris Hall said: "The learnings from Pinglestone will be applied across all Vitacress’ watercress farms, and shared with the industry to develop best practice in watercress farming.

"This fits with Vitacress’ values and our commitment to deliver fresh, tasty, healthy and nutritious watercress whilst protecting the environments in which we farm."

The Environment Agency set limits on phosphate discharges to the River Itchen system from the start of 2016. S&TC will install an autosampler at the Environment Agency discharge sampling point on Pinglestone farm.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) conference heard a range of perspectives on what changes lie in store for the sector and how to anticipate them.

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon