27 September 2017
ORC FABS annual event

Members event at Bradwell Grove Farm, Glos

5 October 2017
LEAF Intercropping Workshop

Gloucestershire event - save the date



21 September 2017
Towards farmer principles of health

Developing healthy farming systems

19 September 2017
Underutilised Crops

New Factsheet from DIVERSIFOOD project



16 August 2017
Promoting crop diversification in European agriculture

A major 5-year European project ˗ DiverIMPACTS launched


GREATSoils

Project code:

AHDB CP 107b

Contract period:

1 April 2015 to 31 March 2018

Project webpage:

https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/greatsoils

Main funder:

AHDB - Horticulture

Contact staff at ORC:

Ms. Anja Vieweger

Other staff involved:

Dominic Amos

Project aims

Growing Resilient Efficient And Thriving Soils

The project aims to:

  1. evaluate soil assessment methods for growers
  2. to improve growers’ confidence in ‘reading the signs’
  3. to offer the opportunity to practise assessment methods with colleagues and advisors
  4. to engage with, and disseminate the methods and approaches to a wide range of levy payers, growers, advisors and other stakeholders and
  5. to develop methods and approaches for practical soil analysis and evaluation to enable confident choices for sustainable soil management.

The benefits for growers are:

  • improved health assessment of their soils;
  • able to follow a more integrated and accurate strategy for soil management, specifically adapted to their own conditions;
  • able to optimise inputs, increase soil fertility and organic matter.
  • Where growers are able to optimise and maintain soil organic matter levels, the benefits can be financially and environmentally significant. Improved soil health management can increase yields and potentially reduce costs as the land will become more productive.

    ORC's role

    ORC leads on two work packages, the first one produced a literature review on the variety of different soil assessment methods and tools currently available for UK growers. This review will be publicly available by the end of the year. In the second work package we have launched a series of grower consultation events in 4 different growing regions of the UK, where we sought advice, critical feedback and opinions from growers and consultants on the usefulness and applicability of currently available soil assessment methods. Based on the outcomes of these consultation events, we will organise 6 field trials during the next two growing seasons (2016+2017) where we will explore various new and improved methods and new combinations of tools for soil assessments. These field trials on 6 different holdings across the UK will be accompanied by a number of field walks where all growers and interested participants from the regions are invited to see the new soil assessment approaches in action, get first feedback from the host-growers and give their own opinions on the usefulness of these approaches.

    Project leader and partners

    • Project leaders are the Soil Association
    • Organic Research Centre
    • Earthcare Technical

    Project output

    Soil assessment methodsAHDB Information Sheet 05: Summer 2016

    Soil pH – how to measure and manage it based on an understanding of soil texture