Helping you build healthy soils
Soil is an Ecosystem that can be managed
Soil is one your most valuable resources, and we want to help you make the most of it.
- A healthy soil provides a habitat for soil microbes to flourish and diversify – providing the nutrients that crops need to grow and prosper.
- Soils store two thirds of the fresh water on the planet* and this function is determined by the level of organic matter in the soil. The loss of soil biodiversity reduces its water infiltration capacity, as well as its capacity to store water, lowering food production and worsening the impact of drought.
- The carbon contained within soil organic matter represents one of the largest carbon stocks on Earth and plays a major role in mitigating climate change. In the UK our soils hold an estimated 9.8 billion tonnes of carbon.**
When soil is eroded, the carbon stored is soils is lost in the form of greenhouse gases. Globally it is estimated that 26% of the carbon stored in the top one metre of soil has been lost since prehistoric times (FAO 2015).
- A well structured soil anchors crops and plants – allowing root systems to extend downward through the soil and in turn stabilise plants so that they can grow efficiently.
- A well structured soil allows less erosion by wind or rain and reduces the likelihood of flooding due to improved porosity.
- The minerals and microbes in soils help to filter, buffer, degrade and detoxify potential pollutants – including industrial by-products and atmospheric pollution.
* IUCN - www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/conserving-healthy-soils
**Soil Association figures
Five Point Plan: Improving Soil Resilience
Our guiding principles for resilient soils
We believe that integrating resilient soils through a whole-farm approach is the best way we can help you to build healthy soils.
We base our advice to you on five key principles:
- Appropriate Cultivation for your situation
- Consider Continuous Cover
- Diversification of Cropping and Rotational Strategy
- Integration of Livestock into the Rotation
- Adoption of New Technologies
You can read more about these in our Building Soil Resilience Insight Report.
What we’re doing
- Choose the appropriate cultivation for your situation – this will reduce compaction and erosion, and maximise root development, crop establishment and soil fertility and structure
- Consider using continuous cover crops to protect your soils, increase soil biodiversity, and reduce inputs
- Use a rotation strategy with diverse crops to improve soil biodiversity, physical properties, and weed control, but reduce inputs and vulnerability to shocks and stresses
- Integrate livestock into your rotation – this has the power to improve your soil nutrients and wider biodiversity, and reduce the risk of soil erosion and pollution
- Adopt new technologies that help you to minimise inputs, which will in turn reduce your costs and impact on biodiversity, water course and wider environment.
- Launching a Soil Resilience Strategy Service to offer you bespoke advice on soil health, unique to your farm and business
- Collaborating with partners, including Harper Adams, Rothamsted, and the Soil and Water Management Centre, to research good soil care
- Developing trials in regenerative agriculture, which we also want to knowledge exchange with you
- Developing three net-zero iFarms in South Wales, and at Bishop Burton, and Midloe Grange to test farm carbon toolkits
- Sharing best practices for soil resilience through our Green Horizons Farmer Network
- Expanding our range of fertilisers with a low carbon footprint
- Increasing the use of RHIZA for VR fertiliser and the use of in-season GS specific foliar applications [what do all these abbreviations mean?]
- Fast-tracking trials of more than 130 biostimulants, elicitors, endophytes and biopesticides with our sister company Fortgreen
Get the Insight Report
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