Know How / Soils

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A guide to catch cropping before autumn cereals

While many farmers are growing cover crops over winter before spring crops, there is also the possibility of establishing a catch crop between harvest and an autumn-drilled crop. The key…


5 steps to introducing a no-till approach on arable farms

Farmer-led organisation Base-UK will be recommending a five-stage approach to adopting regenerative farming at Cereals, for growers looking to start their no-till journey. The five steps are: 1. Have a…


How to build a bioreactor to produce your own on-farm biology

Building biology on your farm doesn’t need to cost the earth, although it does require a level of patience. There is more than one way to increase microbial activity in…


Cover crops help cut fertiliser costs for barley grower

As fertiliser costs spiral, Hampshire arable grower Ian Margetts is looking to cut nitrogen applications on his spring malting barley by up to 15% this season, as a result of…


How growers can qualify for new SFI soil payment scheme

Most arable growers should be able to qualify for a £40/ha payment from the first tier of a new environmental scheme by looking after their soils and so helping to…


How growers can plan with support worth only one-third of BPS

Arable growers looking at new “public money for public good” environmental schemes are likely to earn only one-third of their current area-based subsidies, which are being phased out. This funding…

Case studies

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Scottish spring barley undersowing success for Devon expats

Moving farms to begin a new farming journey can be challenging, especially when it's from one corner of the UK to the other. But that's exactly what mixed farmer Tom…


Direct drill funding helps farm focus on soil health

Making the change to a more regenerative farming system would have been prohibitively expensive for Essex grower George Halsall without the support of Nestlé and its involvement in the Landscape…


Lincs grower moves towards more sustainable potato production

Farm manager Simon Day is taking big strides in growing potatoes more sustainably and cutting their carbon footprint by widening his rotation, reducing costly cultivations and introducing cover crops to…


How costs are falling for one regen farmer

The two big expenses on an arable farm – fuel and fertiliser – have been reduced significantly since Cambridgeshire grower David White decided to stop cultivating and move to a…


A regenerative farmer's reservations on carbon trading

Carbon trading has become a hot topic, as farm payments transition across to rewarding farm businesses for investing in natural capital on their land. However, many farmers disagree on whether…


How home-made compost improves soil health for two farms

Everyone has a slightly different recipe or method for making compost, and it’s perhaps a little trickier than it seems. But get it right and you have an extremely valuable…


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Regen farming income blip as market volatility increases

High yields and rocketing commodity prices have created a financial "blip" for regenerative farming systems, with margins falling behind those of conventional farms in such an unusual year. Speaking at…


Regenerative Agriculture: How to start reducing crop inputs

Cutting inputs and costs is a common goal for growers making the first steps into regenerative farming. As it is a systems approach, the first stage is to build healthier,…


Soil carbon: Targets and how to store it in arable fields

Farmers have a huge opportunity to help combat climate change by reducing emissions with the adoption of less intensive cultivations, as well as capturing and storing carbon in their fields. …


What to consider when increasing soil carbon stocks

Soil organic matter underpins soil health, providing numerous benefits to its physical and chemical properties. But what is it, and how can farmers effectively increase levels to get the most…


How tests for additional available N can cut fertiliser use

A soil nitrogen (N) test that has been available for the past 20 years is in line to have its most successful season ever, not just because of sky-high fertiliser…


How research project aims to improve phosphate use on farms

A research project investigating the role of phosphorus (P) within the UK food system has identified huge inefficiencies in its use, with a total of 138,000t of P unused, wasted…

Latest soils news

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Farmers asked to curb river pollution by minister at RWS

The farming industry will be asked to take steps to reduce phosphate pollution in Welsh rivers, but as part of a wider approach involving other industries, Wales’s first minister has…


NFU food report sets out foundations for improving farm soil

A major new report setting out the importance of soil in food production has outlined eight actions farmers can take to improve this vital asset and ensure the UK’s food…


Hants and Hereford growers named 2022 Soil Farmers of the Year

A Hampshire arable grower and a mixed farmer from Herefordshire were named as the joint winners of the 2022 Soil Farmer of the Year award after they both improved their…


Groundswell stirs debate over certified regen standards

Debate is intensifying over whether regenerative agriculture should be properly monitored and certified to prevent people jumping on the bandwagon without abiding by its principles. The increasing popularity of regen…


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Video: Why cows and trees are part of Essex arable business

George Young is making big changes to his arable business with nature at its heart. Read the full report and watch the videos for more detail on his tree planting…


Video: Grower undersows with clover to cut fertiliser costs

A regenerative farmer is experimenting with white clover understories to reduce his nitrogen fertiliser bills and provide additional grazing for the ewe flock. The price of natural gas, a key…


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.…