Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to assess soil health and improve it to raise crop yields. Find out when to test your soil and how to interpret the test results. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, adding organic matter, improving drainage and growing cover crops.

Must reads

How to measure earth worms

Find out why and how to measure earthworms to help maintain healthy soils for arable and livestock crops. Jackie Stroud of Wormscience, an agricultural soil scientist based at Rothamsted Research, takes you through the steps, explaining types of the worms and where they are found in the soil layers.

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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…

SOILS

7 steps to adopt a biological-based system on arable farms

Most growers would like to move to a less chemical-dependent future, but while the theory sounds good, the practicalities are much more challenging. Regenerative agricultural consultant and farmer Ben Taylor-Davies,…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Step-by-step guide for a tailored approach to crop nutrition

Taking a tailored approach to nutrition can help cereal growers achieve a more sustainable crop performance, through better plant health and resilience. In recent years, cereal yields have plateaued and…

SOILS

How to reduce soil compaction and optimise crop yields

Compacted soils can typically yield 10-20% lower than healthy soils, which is why growers could benefit from a range of measures to cut compaction risks and avoid costly yield losses.…

SOILS

How to accurately measure the organic carbon content of soil

How to measure organic carbon in soils and, even more importantly, accurately measure how it changes over time, are major challenges in the potential development of new income streams for…

Case studies

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ROTATIONS

How Berks farm estate is preparing for a progressive future

Developing a sustainable and viable farming operation while keeping to the Welford Park Estate’s ethos of protecting the land is the task being undertaken by the host of the AHDB…

SOILS

New AHDB Strategic Farm to focus on regenerative agriculture

Arable farmers interested in adopting regenerative agriculture practices will soon be able to gain tips and advice from an AHDB project, with one farmer sharing his ideas and experiences over…

SOILS

Soil is key as Norfolk estate prepares for end of subsidies

Improving soil health is key for one Norfolk farming estate as it looks to cut crop inputs and raise yields to prepare for a future without direct farm subsidies. After…

SOILS

How technology is helping farmer adopt regenerative farming

Some may view regenerative farming as going back in time with its emphasis on rotations, diversity and livestock integration, but for Ken Hill Farm & Estate in Snettisham, west Norfolk,…

ARABLE

How on-farm interventions keep soil and water in place

A whole-farm approach to water management has seen a Norfolk estate introduce measures that have returned 45m litres of water to the environment. Working with the Norfolk Rivers Trust as…

POTATOES

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”,…

Insights

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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

Why regular liming can raise profits by up to £436/ha/year

A new study has highlighted the benefit of a long-term liming strategy in arable rotations, with regular applications shown to significantly increase farm profitability. Agricultural soils become acidic naturally and…

TECHNOLOGY

Emerging tech to improve soil health and cut pesticide use

Soil degradation across the world is costing agriculture average losses estimated at 1.5mm/year on conventionally managed farms and how to reverse this trend is key to the future of farming.…

COVER CROPS

Why a farmer is establishing catch crops with a sprayer

A farmer in Lincolnshire is trialling a new way of sowing catch crops, by adapting his sprayer to sow the seed in a standing crop of vining peas. Arable farmer…

SOILS

How farmers can take part in the Big Soil Community project

A co-ordinated effort to sample and analyse the biodiversity of farm soils is now in its second year, with further sampling scheduled to re-start this autumn. Known as the Big…

Latest soils news

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NEWS

'Only 60 years of harvests left' claim is a myth, says study

Claims that the world may only have 60 harvests left because of poor soil management are “overblown” and “nonsensical”, according to new research from Oxford University. The United Nations’ Food…

ENVIRONMENT

EA boss under fire for 'misleading' soil erosion tweet

An Environment Agency (EA) boss has come under fire from farmers for posting photos of soil erosion on an arable farm, and suggesting it was caused by just 20mm of…

SOILS

Study paves way for compaction-resistant crops

New opportunities to create compaction-resistant crops that are able to grow in the hardest of soils could be on the horizon thanks to a scientific breakthrough. Researchers discovered how the…

SOILS

New farmer guide to improve soil health launched

An online soil guide has been launched which aims to become the world’s most comprehensive resource to help farmers improve soil health and increase the efficiency and profitability of their…

Video

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POTATOES

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”,…

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.…

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…

SUGAR BEET

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…