The Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) project is a joint Defra, Environment Agency (EA) and Welsh Assembly Government initiative working in three river catchments – the Wensum in Norfolk plus the Eden (Cumbria) and Avon (Hampshire).

The overall objective of the project is to provide evidence to test the hypothesis that it is possible to cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse water pollution on ecological function while maintaining food security through the implementation of multiple on-farm measures across whole river catchments using local expertise to solve local problems. [READ MORE]

 

What's in the news?

 
  • 15 November 2017: Workshop - Farming Methods and Machinery - Salle Village Hall: Broadland Catchment Partnership hosted an event which attracted 46 attendees from Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire including 20 farmers (over 7000 ha) along with agronomists, other farm advisers and academics. Presentations from local farmers, agricultural engineers, and academics focussed on traditional and novel cost-effective techniques for improving soil and water and drew on evidence from the Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment, UEA, Harper Adams University, Cranfield University and ADAS trials related to cultivations and cover crops. Lland-Ho’s Earthwake for tramline disruption was on display and attendees were able to walk to a nearby oil seed rape field to discuss soil structure and were taken by tractor and trailer to a field of cover crops to discuss their establishment and destruction. Tramline layout and direction of sprayer travel around the field was also discussed as a simple cost-effective way to improve water resource protection. The event was reported in the EDP and a summary report is also available [click here].
  • 28-29 Jun 2017: Royal Norfolk Show Located off the main avenue through the showground ensured a large flow of visitors to our stand in the Innovation Hub marquee. The cover crops were in full growth and these and the ever popular catchment model (later making a debut appearance on BBC Look East) plus lots of fun looking chemistry made for a colourful display attracting lots of interest from show-goers, school groups and VIP guests including Michael Gove, Sectretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (pictured talking with Steve). The DTC team were kept fully occupied over the two days, answering questions about the uses of cover crops, the monitoring work and findings so far.
UEA stand at Pensthorpe Wild About the Wensum event

  • 06 May 2017: Pensthorpe's Wild about the Wensum!Our stand at this year's event included the new-improved catchment model prepared by Gilla, as popular with young visitors as ever. In addition, to engage people with research in the Wensum DTC evaluating the effectiveness of cover crops as a means to reduce diffuse pollution, we featured a display of cover crop plants kindly grown at UEA by Paul Disdle from seed supplied by Paul Brown of Frontier Agriculture. The clear boxes help to show the root structure of each plant - and these will be used again at further events this year. A quiz to match the plant with its seed was popular with the older children and all the children were pleased with their 'love your river' stickers. The event was once again very well attended and generated a lot of interest in our research.
UEA stand at Pensthorpe Wild About the Wensum event

  • April 2017: Broadland Catch Up Sketchfab view of sediment trapsRoad run-off is a major source of sediment input into the upper reaches of the River Blackwater. The latest newsletter from the Broadland Catchment Partnership features a report on three roadside sediment traps constructed on the Salle Park Estate to capture road runoff before it enters the river. The sediment traps, which were funded by the Broadland Catchment Partnership ‘Norfolk Rural SuDS’ project, act as settling ponds to encourage the entrained sediment to settle out of suspension and allow cleaner water to discharge into the river. A 5 cm resolution aerial drone survey of the site (see picture) was conducted in February 2017. Click here to view it and Click here to access the newsletter.
  • April 2017: Wensum research shows reduction in agricultural pollution The new newsletter from NIAB TAG features an article about the latest results from cover crop trails in Wensum DTC. Click here to read all about it.
  • February 2017: 'Wonder Wheel' to help water sensitive farming The latest newsletter from the Broadland Catchment Partnership reports on the 'Wonder Wheel' a novel device being trialled by potato growers locally to disrupt tramlines and wheelings to prevent water, soil and nutrients moving or leaving the field. Click here to read all about it.

To read more about what's been happening see our News page.

View Wensum DTC Google Earth project
Wensum Google Earth project
Explore the Wensum catchment from the comfort of your own computer using this 'Google Earth' project developed by GIS expert Gilla Sunnenberg. [Click here] to view the project.
 
Out and about
Mill on the Wensum
Three arched bridge
 
Demonstration Test Catchments Logo