Soil Protection Review – Pain or Gain? - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

Beth Metson Blog

February 20, 2013

Soil Protection Review – Pain or Gain?

Thank you for reading my blog! I am pleased to say that I will be writing a regular blog on behalf of Agrii, I hope you enjoy the content and I look forward to hearing from you with any comments you might have.

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Here we go….

Despite the continued advances in the technology found within agriculture, we are reminded that the industry is still at the mercy of what nature throws, whether that is too little or too much. Soil structure really came into its own when comparing a dry to wet harvest over the past couple of years. It was clear in the summer having a good soil structure can be part of managing risk in difficult seasons.

Organic matter is like gold dust for a soil profile, it helps develop our soil structures, and benefits of this are endless. Applications of bulky organic manures and/or returning crop residues are a must for soils with low organic matter. The addition this gives of plant nutrients to our soils is a mere by-product of the other gains. The workability of our soils will be better, drainage will benefit, storage of nutrients and plant protection products will be greater, to mention just a few.

Although for many, the Soil Protection Review is a pain, a tick box exercise to justify the Single Farm Payment, it isn’t, it exists to help monitor and improve our soil structures. When faced with the SPR what do we say? ‘I know my soils’, ‘this is what I would do anyway’, ‘what a waste of time’, ‘I know what is best for my soils’ and of course this year ‘what bit at the back for waterlogged soils?!’

So the question is, despite us knowing our soils and how to manage them for the best, how is it that we have let our organic matter deplete and with it, our soil structure? My advice is use the SPR to actually monitor and review soil structures and try some new measures suggested in the book to improve things, it will help towards protecting yourself from nature’s imbalances.

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