New tool helps farmers assess changes in soil quality

Farmers can now assess the value of any improvements to soil health, thanks to a new tool that accurately measures soil quality.

The “soils matrix” tool assesses several factors relating to soil quality and converts them into an easy to understand score. The higher the score, the better the soil.

Factors such as soil type, drainage, pH and levels of nutrients such as potassium and magnesium are accounted for when calculating the score.

See also: How to raise headland yields by cutting soil compaction risk

The tool, created by Fisher German in partnership with agronomists Indigro, will also help farmers decide whether investing in soil quality improvements will be cost-effective, as the matrix can be used as a foundation to provide advice.

Robert Knight, senior associate at Fisher German, said it was more important than ever for farmers to know as much as they can about their soil.

“It is crucial for farmers and landowners to understand the quality of their soil to maximise their profits, and it is also important to know whether investing to improve the soil is cost-effective or not.”

The firm can help farmers create a farm management plan to implement by improving the soils matrix score towards its optimum level.

“We could show how much money it would take and what techniques could be used to achieve this, as well as predicting the extra money gained in future years from increased yields to understand the benefit from the initial investment,” says Mr Knight.

“The soils matrix will take some of the guesswork out of arable farming and give farmers and landowners much-needed clarity over whether to part with their money or not,” he adds.