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Project update from Innovation Award Winner, Luke Medd

News - 19.10.21

Last week Agrii's Rob Bowes (Agronomist), Joe Martlew (Regional Technical Advisor) and Amy Watkins (Sustainability Project Manager) caught up with this year's Agrii Innovation Award Winner, Luke Medd, at his farm in County Durham to find out the latest on his work looking at ways to improve soil health and resilience.

On Luke's farm at West Worley Hill, he and the local Agrii team have split two fields in half. One half of each field is being conventionally worked using a plough, power harrow and combination drill. The team is utilising a no till approach on the other half.

But before they began, the team used the Agrii Soil Resilience Strategy to determine what the starting soil conditions were like. They carried out a full physical assessment and worked with Lancrop to analyse the soils' overall nutrient status, biological health and carbon levels.

The results highlighted that a plough pan was present across all four plot sites. A plough pan is a hard, cement-like layer in the subsoil which prevents surplus water draining away freely and restricts root growth - it can be caused by ploughing regularly to the same depth.

The team decided that the best option would be to carry out remedial works using a low-disturbance Ryetec Restorer subsoiler. They then used a Ryetec Ma/Ag SSP low disturbance disc drill to sow the crops in the no till area. The team are using the Agrii Soil Resilience Strategy and different cultivations to explore the question of how to ensure that soils are set up correctly for direct drilling.

Using a Ryetec Ma/Ag SSP low disturbance disc drill in the project fields

In one field Luke and the Agrii team have established fast growing species of cover crops, and in the other field they have planted Dickens farm saved seed at 200kg/ha.

Watch this space for updates on how the crops compare across the different till regimes and the different fields...

You can find out more about why Luke won our first Agrii Innovation Award in Green Horizons Insight Report 4, which you can download here.

There's more information on Agrii's Soil Resilience Strategy in Green Horizons Insight Report 1, which you can download here. The Strategy will be officially launched in January 2022 - please ask your usual Agrii contact for more information and follow us on social media for the latest news.

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