Know How / Soils

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The Soil Health Scorecard: What it is and how to use it

A new way to quantify soil health allows farmers to measure any improvements over time, as well as identify potential problems that could be holding yields back. Until now there…


4 environmental options for arable growers in switch to ELMs

Arable growers are being encouraged to try out current stewardship options to ready themselves for the switch from direct subsidies to environmentally focus payments. With direct support from the Basic…


Rotation planning: How should you plan for future changes?

Rotation planning for the next few years should start with the acknowledgement that nothing is cast in stone anymore, say agronomists and consultants. After two consecutive wet autumns and dry…


How to plant the right tree in the right place on your farm

Many factors influence the best location for planting a new woodland, not least the reasons for wanting to do so in the first place. These could include offering an alternative…


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…


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…

Case studies

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Autocasting gets oilseed rape in early to resist flea beetle

A Northamptonshire farm is sowing oilseed rape when combining the previous cereal crop, cutting costs and getting the rapeseed off to a good early start on its light land. The…


Integrating beef unit on arable land - do the costs add up?

Peter Lord, farm manager at Norwood Farm, near Bath teamed up with the AHDB and Adas to convert the 290ha long-term arable farm into an integrated mixed farming enterprise. He…


Net-zero demo farm's three-pronged approach to cutting carbon

A Cambridgeshire net zero demonstration farmer has a three-pronged approach to cut his carbon footprint and replace income lost through the phasing out of BPS payments. David Felce, who farms…


How AHDB Monitor Farms are moving towards net zero

Reducing emissions while maintaining productivity is the goal for most farms as they look for ways to reduce their impact and become carbon neutral. While every farm will have its…


Designing stewardship areas to increase arable productivity

Redesigning Countryside Stewardship (CS) areas to better fit into his regenerative system has been one of the priorities for Edwin Taylor on his 1,200ha farm in south Northumberland over the…


20 years of regenerative agriculture: One farm’s success story

What started as a cost-cutting exercise more than 20 years ago on Doug Christie’s 570ha farm in Fife has developed into a regenerative system that ticks all the boxes and…


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Why energy crops could fill the BPS income gap

Bioenergy crops have the potential to fill the income gap resulting from the phasing out of Basic Payment Scheme funding payments in the coming years, and they also bring other…


How a carbon payments scheme will work for 100 UK farmers

Another carbon payment programme has come to the UK. We find out how the Soil Capital Carbon programme will work. Farmers signing up to Soil Capital’s carbon programme will receive…


How a new soil scoring tool picks the best cultivation option

A new crop establishment tool which assesses a range of soil management factors is set to help farmers identify whether a change in cultivation may benefit their soils. There is…


Silvopasture: What it is and how it benefits livestock

Tree planting can make a valuable contribution to a range of public goods, such as carbon sequestration, improved soil health, increased biodiversity, water quality and flood mitigation, all of which…


How the new Arable Soils Standard could help fill the BPS gap

Early indications based on figures announced by Defra in early July suggest that while the new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) could fill the BPS shortfall for some farmers, large farms…


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…


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…


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…

Latest soils news

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Beef added to AHDB arable rotation cost calculator

A new “mix and match” calculator that considers the cost and margins of introducing a beef herd into an arable rotation has been developed by the AHDB. For growers who…


Maize trials target chemical residues to improve undersowing

Undersowing maize with grass to cut soil erosion risks is an increasingly popular talking point, but concerns of chemical residues used in maize production could adversely affect grass establishment. A…


Riverbank tree planting project launched for England

More than 3,000ha of new woodland is set to be planted along England’s riverbanks as part of a government project to help manage flood risks and increase biodiversity. The Woodlands…


Aberdeen field moved to preserve soil management trial

A whole field on the edge of Aberdeen is being dug up and transported a mile along the road to preserve its wide range of acid and alkaline soils which…


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Video: How a US potato grower is slashing pesticide use

Growing potatoes on a commercial scale with virtually zero synthetic inputs would seem impossible, but this is exactly what one US farmers has achieved using what he calls “biotic farming”,…


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.…


Drainage contractor splashes £400k on state-of-the-art plough

Mastenbroek has built its first UK-bound trenchless drainage plough in more than thirty years for Warwickshire-based Farm Services, which is keen to satisfy a resurgent number of farmers requesting field-scale…


Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…