Farmers to be rewarded for healthy soils

As the UK prepares to exit the EU this weekend, farmers are gearing up for changes in funding away from the CAP to Environmental Land Management Schmes (ELMS).

The Agriculture Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Commons on January 16th, outlines the intention to move from the Common Agricultural Policy towards payments for “public goods”.

One of those specified “goods” – one that has been identified in this way for the first time – is soil health. With that in mind, CHAP partner ADAS has published an article by soil scientist Leila Froud making the case to “Get Soil Healthy for 2020”.

She points out that healthy soil has “a light and crumbly structure”, adding that it should resemble a Mary Berry sponge cake rather than having the flat and dense the heavy structure of a Mississippi mud pie.

Thinking about improving this may be a tough ask for farmers still struggling to harvest potatoes from waterlogged fields, but as the article points out: “Looking after your soil biology and making the soil a more hospitable place, will help in nutrient availability, water absorption and filtration, carbon sequestration, and ultimately the use and workability of the land. So why wouldn’t you want a healthy soil?”

To read the full article, go to ADAS

For information on CHAP’s Phenotyping and Soil Health capability at Cranfield University, in partnership with fellow agritech centre Agrimetrics, look go to the Capabilities page or Soil Health solution.

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