Improving soil health – guidance for farmers

Organisation: Catchment Sensitive Farming

Location: National

Type: Apps & Tools

The following series of practical videos aim to help farmers understand and improve soil health.

Working in partnership with Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) and Ernest Cook Trust, the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) team produced a series of ‘Learning from the Land’ videos.

These showcase easy-to-set-up soil demonstrations that can be carried out by farmers and land managers in their own kitchens. The videos highlight the importance of soil health and include practical techniques to help improve the overall health of soils in the UK.

Farmers can easily see how soils work to improve crop productivity while protecting the environment and reducing soil and nutrient losses.

Farming Minister, George Eustice said:

“Our 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition for all soils to be managed sustainably by 2030. Boosting soil health has multiple benefits including increased nutrient up-take, better crop production, reduced risk of soil erosion and run-off. This all leads to improvements to water quality and wildlife, as well as safeguarding the fertility of our soils for producing food.”

2018 Soil Farmer of the Year, Simon Cowell commented:

“These videos are a great way for farmers to understand and know their soils.  The farmers’ enthusiasm in the case studies; for looking after their soil is obvious, and will inspire and give confidence to other farmers to change their own ways of farming. In addition to improving their soil’s biology; they have benefited the environment by reducing both water and air pollution.”

Andrew Lazenby, CEO of IfA said:

“Through bringing together expertise from Innovation from Agriculture and Catchment Sensitive Farming with funding from the Ernest Cook Trust,  IfA has produced these hands-on, practical videos to  help farmers understand their soil, improve its health and ultimately save money on the farm, as well as achieving sustainable crop production.”

The quick, easy-to-follow videos feature experts Stephen Briggs, IfA’s Soil and Water Manager and Natural England’s Soils Biologist, Dr Matthew Shepherd. They also illustrate the aims of the recently formed ‘UK Agricultural Soil Initiative’ launched earlier this month at the ‘Cereals Show’ by showing demonstrations and case studies to improve our soils.

The series features episodes on:

  1. Collecting soil bugs
  2. Extracting soil bugs
  3. The Soil Slab
  4. Sediment and nutrient loss from soils
  5. Holding on to soil nutrients
  6. Soil structural stability
  7. Soil Health – Stephen Briggs (IfA) explains the life beneath your feet and how to improve soil health with techniques such as cover or companion cropping
  8. Conservation agriculture – farmer case studies showing how 4 farmers are improving their soils

To view the videos on YouTube please click here or watch below:

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