Funding for trials to assess the nutrient and soil structure benefits of composts on different soil types has been awarded to Cambridge Arable Technologies by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).

The trials, which will take place over the next 18 months, will be conducted with food derived and green waste composts, which are due to be applied to 10ha field plots this autumn.

As well as assessing the nutrient contribution of the composts, the trials would help to investigate some of the logistical challenges which still needed to be overcome, Richard Fenwick said at a CAT open day.

“We all know that composts can be used to put back some of the lost organic matter and provide valuable N, P and K,” he said.

“However, they are also big and bulky, have to be applied at rates of 30t/ha, and they need to be transported, spread and stored. These all have costs.”

Four different compost providers were taking part in the trial, he added. “There’s plenty of compost around. One of the problems we hope to tackle is finding the best way of getting it to the farm.”