LOOK after your soil and it will look after you was the message
from a workshop run by the Applied Research Forum (ARF).
The event - to translate soil management research into best practice
- was held at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire and called Manage
your soils: Grow your business.
It explored the impact of global markets, climate change and current
farming practices on the functionality and biodiversity of soils
in arable, livestock and horticultural farming systems. It then
debated the most practical and sustainable long-term strategies
for soil management in the UK.
One of the most important points to come out of the event, attended
by more than 100 soil scientists, farmers, consultants, agronomists
and government and levy board representatives, was the need for
a whole-farm approach.
Summing up, Professor Keith Goulding head of the Agriculture and
Environment division of Rothamsted Research said "Soil is
a complex living biological entity and focusing too closely on
just one aspect of soil would put others out of balance leading
to a fall in farm profit.
"The welter of legislation, including NVZs and IPPC, which
impact directly on soil management, must be incorporated into a
whole-farm approach to maintain and improve soil quality for the
long-term profitability and productivity of the farm.
"The main threats to soil from climate change and human activity
are erosion, loss of soil organic matter, contamination, compaction
"Good soil management is essential for healthy, productive
and functional soil. Farmers are generally very aware of this and
of the importance of soil organic matter but want clear practical
information and guidance on best practice and how to track the
health of their soils."
HGCA Research Director and Lead Technical Director for ARF, Professor
Graham Jellis, said: "It was immensely productive having farmers,
scientists and agronomists in the same room, discussing practical
aspects of soil management.
"The output of the workshop will now help us to develop the
best management strategies for the future. The levy bodies will
then take this and communicate it to our respective sectors."
East Organic Producers Take It Slow
Shorthorn making an Organic comeback
What is biofertilizer?