Shropshire Star

Bradford Estates actions plan to improve soil quality

Long-term plans to improve soil quality have been revealed by landed estates business Bradford Estates ahead of annual awareness event World Soil Day.

The Bradford Estates team will be reducing the use of synthetic products to preserve the soil

Grazing levels will be increased in targeted areas to help regenerate the soil after a survey undertaken on the 4,000 acre in hand farm area, part of the 12,000 acres on the Shropshire and Staffordshire borders managed by Bradford Estates, informed a plan of action.

The first flock of sheep to be owned by Bradford Estates in ‘living memory’ has started to graze to improve the health of the ground through joint venture Bradford Sheep, which has been set up with an initial investment of 300 New Zealand Romneys, as their latest step in sustainable farming.

The Bradford Estates team will also be reducing the use of synthetic products due to their environmental effects and strategically reducing cultivation of the land to preserve soil structure.

Organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Soil Day 2022 is held annually on December 5 to encourage the improvement of soil health.

The 2022 global day has the theme ‘Where food begins’ with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems. Organisers say soil nutrient loss is among the most significant global threats to food security and sustainability.

Farms Director Oliver Scott said Bradford Estates had undertaken a soil survey, alongside other baseline surveys for its farming business, Bradford Farming, as part of its 100 year plan to shape its future around responsible practices.

He said: “Conducting a survey was invaluable as we now know the condition of the soil and have identified some early wins such as introducing extensive grazing by sheep across Bradford Estates, which will help add natural fertility.

“The farming industry can be poor at collecting data but we recognise its importance in assessing environmental impact. Collecting soil data on a regular basis will be the biggest driver for measuring our impact moving forward.

“The field were zoned and samples taken in each zone, with the results allowing us to work out what types of crops we can grow while identifying ways of improving the soil, including reducing the amount of cultivation and tillage of the land which kills soil biology over time.”

Working to its 100-year plan, Bradford Estates’ stewardship is centred around delivering a legacy for generations to come by using sustainable practices across its activities.

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