The UK Soil Health Initiative (UKSHi) has produced a series of guides for farmers and growers seeking advice on soil health and husbandry. The simple guides focus on key practical points that farmers can do to improve soil health on-farm and have been developed by bringing together UK academics and practitioners.
There are six guides available, covering the following topics:
- Upland livestock farms
- Lowland livestock farms
- Mixed farms
- Combinable cropping
- Root crops and maize
- Field vegetables
The broad, cross-industry collaboration that developed the messages and advice included the UKSHi, the WWF-Tesco Partnership and Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE) to help identify actions that can be taken on farms to better manage soils for a sustainable future.
Healthy well-managed soils are the foundation for productive farming systems. Taking steps to improve soil health is a vital part of future-proofing farmland, thee guides advise, as well as making growers more resilient against changing government support and enabling good yields.
Elizabeth Stockdale, head of Farming Systems Research at NIAB, said: “These simple, practical guides mark a real step forward in helping farmers manage their soil, for the benefit of all.
“Each guide contains a simple starting place of three things to consider, and three things to avoid. We’d love all farmers to start with that, and this would make a real difference to our soils – potentially improving crop yields, alleviating flooding and improving biodiversity. For any farmers that want to do more, the ‘Going beyond the norm’ section of the guides gives advice on more advanced soil management options.”
Callum Weir, sustainable agriculture specialist, WWF-UK, added: “The cross-industry support and collaboration we’ve had in putting these together has been invaluable. The guides contain real-life, practical advice to help farmers and land managers manage their soils in a sustainable manner.
“So many stakeholders, who have different roles in managing our farmed landscape, have aligned behind the message contained in these six guides – it really is worth the whole industry taking a look and these guides and implementing the messages contained within them.”
The guides can be downloaded at UK Soil Health Initiative guides – CFE Online