Soils and nutrition workshop

Event Date : December 18, 2014

The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 0HR
10.00am to 4.30pm

ORC’s Laurence Smith will discuss the NDICEA nutrient management tool.

Join us for a one day technical event at Elm Farm dedicated to informing and inspiring farmers and agronomists on the latest thinking and developments in relation to soil management and crop nutrition.

The aim of the workshop is to understand and question how we currently use nutrient planning tools. We begin by reviewing what is standard practice and what else is available for those wishing to more accurately predict nutrient availability provided by cover crops. Good soil management begins with un derstanding just how and when these nutrients are able to be utilised by the following cash crop. By better understanding nutrient use efficiency the aim is to provide a more balanced supply of nutrients to produce a healthier and more resilient plant.

Linking the importance and symbiotic relationship between a soil’s chemistry, biology and physical properties will form a vital part of the day. Asking the question can a soil test truly quantify the biological activity of a soil? Using a comprehensive line up of highly qualified speakers on this occasion we will explore how we can begin to more accurately assess the financial implications of nutrient management in the long and short term. Taking a rotational view of nutrient management rather than crop specific the aim is to build a more resilient food production system. Demonstrating how we can all improve our management for the long term health of our soils and the environment while maximising the return on investment to improve overall business profitability.

Building on previous soil workshops, we continue to ask searching questions about how we currently manage our soils. Challenging convention, while providing the science behind why this maybe necessary! This time we will asking searching questions like do we have the tools available as farmers and agronomists to confidently measure key indicators of soil health. This is something which is essential as conservation agriculture relies heavily on biological systems.

This workshop is an excellent opportunity to also meet industry experts and innovative growers using novel soil management techniques. These growers are using diversity to future proof their business as weather and price volatility become more common. Rethinking our current approach to how and what we grow is now essential.

Who should attend?

The workshop is open to anyone interested in improving farm profitability through a better understanding of soil and crop nutrition to ensure the long term sustain- ability of their business.

This workshop aims to help drive continual innovation whatever your system. Whether you are using a plough, min-till or a complete no-till approach.

Elizabeth Stockdale will be available to examine a spade spit of soil from a highly productive or challenging field to see how your current management is affecting its structure. Details of how to collect and prepare the sample will be sent with confirmation of your booking a place for the event. The most important thing to bring along to this day is an open mind!


10.00—10.15 Welcome & Introduction – Richard Harding, Procam
10.15—11.15 Just what is NDICEA and how can it help to improve how we measure the nutrient use efficiency of cover crops within the wider context of a rotation? – Laurence Smith, ORC.
11..15—12.30 What are the alternatives to NDICEA and how can we build a thorough and more complete approach to plant nutrition? – Mark Measures, ORC and – Lizzie Sagoo, ADAS
12.30—13.30 Lunch.
13.30—14.00 An introduction to NRM’s latest soil test; The Soil Health Package. Can this provide a measure of soil biological activity? – Duncan Rose, NRM Laboratories.
14.00—14.45 How biological solutions play a valuable role in maximising crop nutrition? – Mike Harrington, Edaphos.
14.45—15.00 Tea break
15.00—16.00 Understanding the link between soil biology and plant health. What we know so far and a look at future research. – Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University.
16.00—16.30 Closing question and answer session.


Please note this event is now fully booked

Download the flyer here.

This workshop is held in collaboration with ADAS, Newcastle University and NRM Laboratories.


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