2 November 2001

Maintaining soil structure

MAINTAINING good soil structure and avoiding compaction is essential to minimise excessive run-off into watercourses and winter flooding.

With recent flooding, more emphasis is being placed on reducing run-off from fields, the Environment Agencys Richard Smith told producers attending the MGA/BGS meeting.

However, run-off can be as high from grassland as bare stubble, but is less noticeable without soil erosion.

Excess run-off is a particular problem with extended grazing in wet conditions due to increased soil compaction, he said.

"One possible solution for compaction is using spiked rollers to improve soil structure in the top few inches."

However, trials are needed to evaluate fully the benefits of regular spiking of pastures on grass yields, added Mr Smith. &#42