Five tips for tip-top soil
Farmers care passionately about maintaining and improving soil.
The good news is that under the new Agriculture Bill, soil management is now listed as a public good for which farmers and landowners will be rewarded, though to what level depends on the detail of the transition in farm payments.
Obviously, healthy, functioning soils are the basis of food production. However, they also provide a substrate that benefits the wider public in many other ways.
These benefits include water storage and flood mitigation, carbon storage and biodiversity
Soil needs management for a variety of reasons. Wind and water erosion result in soil losses between 10 and 66 tonnes per hectare every year.
It’s estimated that while 17 per cent of arable soils in England and Wales show signs of erosion, 40 per cent is thought to be at risk, so it’s never been more important for farmers to develop their soil management plans.
Our advice to farmers is fivefold – limit disturbance, reduce compaction, keep it covered, strive for diversity, and increase organic matter. There is certainly plenty of help and advice out there, not least among your peers.
Mark Riches is CLA Director Midlands
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