Know How / Land preparation

Case studies

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SOILS

Soil health key to premium crop grower's sustainability goals

Growing premium crops for local markets is helping Fife farmer Alan Steven optimise margins at Hillhead Farm, Kingsbarns, St Andrews. “Our location means haulage is a significant factor,” says Mr…

SOILS

5 key changes a farmer made in move to regenerative farming

Learning from mistakes and adapting plans are key parts of the transition towards a regenerative approach, with much of the knowledge exchange for this farming system still relatively new. Fortunately…

DRILLING

How farmer grows wheat within a herbal ley

Drilling crops into a permanent living mulch is the holy grail for organic growers and a system developed in the south-west of France now gaining ground in the UK. Andy…

ESTABLISHMENT

How to grow potatoes using minimal tillage

Growing potatoes with excellent taste characteristics was the starting point for Jeroen Klompe’s eight-year journey to improve his soil, and his management of it within a potato rotation. Farming 368ha…

SOILS

How two growers are using regenerative ag to protect water

Pressure to reverse excessive nitrate leaching into both the Wessex Water borehole and wider Poole Harbour catchments has led Dorset farmer John Hawkins to radically reshape his farm in the…

SOILS

How a carbon pilot is opening up a direct market for farmers

Very few farmers have so far been paid for sequestering carbon within an arable rotation, but opportunities are beginning to open up, both globally and in the UK. Carl Krefting,…

Practical advice

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SOILS

Why soil measurement is a key challenge for carbon farming

Establishing a trusted measurement method is going to be critical if carbon markets are to take off for arable farmers, enabling them to earn money in return for capturing and…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Soil fungi can help improve the health of crops

Mycorrhizal fungi are beneficial organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with plants, growing in association with their roots and helping them to thrive. A key component of any balanced farming…

LAND PREPARATION

How to use active fallows to repair soils on undrilled land

Growers with land left undrilled this year should consider the use of active fallow to improve soil condition and prepare the ground for next autumn’s drillings. In an active fallow,…

LAND PREPARATION

Advice on draining and restructuring waterlogged soils

The best way of draining waterlogged soils and restructuring compacted areas is to plant a crop as soon as it is feasible, and allow them to transpire the water out.…

SOILS

7 ways to flood-proof soils and improve drainage

Arable growers need to follow a seven-point plan to improve their soil structure especially if, as expected, new farm support payments will depend on healthy soils. With many arable areas…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

How to avoid the top 3 micronutrient deficiencies in cereals

Needed in such finite quantities, micronutrients can be easily overlooked as another expense, with deficiencies putting cereal yields at risk as well as leading to crops that are more susceptible…

Insights

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ARABLE

Regen farming data show variable costs cut by 18%

Latest results from the Groundswell benchmarking group show that everything is lower in a regenerative agriculture system, except for the all-important net margin. Variable costs are 18% lower, while labour…

SOILS

6 companies offering carbon-based payments to arable farmers

From government-backed schemes to voluntary private markets, there has been an explosion of interest in developing carbon and additional ecosystem service credits that could provide a new income stream for…

SOILS

How new carbon offset scheme for regenerative ag works

The first UK-certified soil carbon offsetting scheme is available to farmers who use regenerative agriculture practices, offering them a commercial opportunity worth up to £100/ha from sequestering carbon in their…

SOILS

Will soil carbon be the next big crop for growers?

It feels like a perfect storm: the urgency of climate change, the global surge in interest in regenerative agricultural practices and the need for new income streams. They are all…

SOILS

How the UK's first soil carbon mapping service works

The UK’s first carbon mapping service, capable of providing an accurate baseline measure of soil carbon levels, is now available to farmers. The technology, known as Terramap Carbon, will gauge…

SOILS

Fermenting organic matter better for soil than composting

Fermenting organic matter in a similar way to ensiling grass, rather than composting waste, can lead to greater improvements in soil health while at the same time helping farmers to…

SOILS

Tips on getting soils and rotations back on track

After one of the wettest winters on record, it could be assumed that UK arable soils will be in desperate need of first aid before the next cropping season begins.…

DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Plough, min-till and no-till compared: year one

A major trial has been set up to find the most profitable and sustainable way to grow arable crops by comparing three different establishment systems over five years. Establishment systems…

ARABLE

Can arable farming and wildlife conservation work together?

Farming is coming under greater pressure to halt the decline in wildlife. A major government project hopes to provide some of the answers in coming years, by balancing greater diversity with…

SOILS

Two high-tech solutions to tackle poor soil health

With soil fertility and sustainability in the spotlight, two high-tech projects at the University of Plymouth could revolutionise the way farmers think about this precious resource. Scientists look to create…