Growers who have set their sights on soil improvement are being armed with fresh practical guidance with the launch of a new publication from the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
The document, entitled Valuing Your Soils, is a replacement for the 2005 Farm Soils Plan and was produced with input from Scottish farmers, researchers and consultants from Scotland’s Rural College and industry experts.
It aims to increase awareness of good management practices, funding opportunities and the current regulations concerning soils in Scotland and was funded by the Centre of Expertise for Waters and requested by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Growers could stem thousands of pounds in losses from problems related to the state of their soils by taking on board the tips and ideas from case study farmers and experts captured in the guide.
It includes pointers on how to reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter and use the cultivation techniques for different soil types.
Mark Aitken, SEPA principal policy officer, said: “The brochure encourages good management practices that will improve soil quality, help maintain healthy soils and in turn improve farm profits and protect the environment.
“The publication is also immensely useful because it highlights the importance of good soil structure in protecting and improving water quality, and also helping to reduce flood risks.”
Brochures will be distributed at the Royal Highland Show and other agricultural shows across the country and electronic versions can be downloaded from the SRUC website.
One farmer featured in the guide is Robert Ramsey, who farms at West Mains of Kinblethmont, Angus, Scotland.
Mr Ramsay is using controlled traffic farming systems to improve yields by protecting farm soils from compaction.
Watch the video below to find out how the move to controlled traffic farming has saved around 40% of fuel and time when establishing a crop, compared with the farm’s old plough and till system.