PROSOIL – 2 years on

The concept that the quality of agricultural food products is based on the health of the soil is central to organic farming.

Working with key industry stakeholders and farmers, the PROSOIL project aims to achieve a better understanding of soil management to optimise farm productivity. Linked to IBERS research that is scientifically determining the impact of improving soil health on forage and livestock productivity and quality, the farmer participation is a key part of the dissemination.

At IBERS, plot and field work is evaluating a range of soil management methods to improve soil health. Eight Commercial Development Farmers (CDF), who volunteered during a series of events, are working with IBERS Grassland Development Centre (GDC) to explore the effects of their farming practices on soil health and productivity by making field-scale measurements of soils, forage yield , quality and, where possible, animal performance.

The farms represent different sectors of agriculture, soil types and climatic conditions and an organic upland farm is included. Project activity on CDFs is based on soil analyses and recommendations from RB209 and a Base Cation Saturation Ratio approach to soil nutrient management, as well as another soil improvement method chosen by the farmer. Data and information is collated by IBERS GDC, interpreted in a practical context and shared widely during open days, discussion group meetings, newsletters and topical factsheets.

The network of farmers meets at IBERS to discuss key ‘PROSOIL’ issues’ and to share knowledge and experience. Early physical results from the farms and their views on the project to date will be presented.


Theme: other
Published: 22nd January 2013
Author: Heather McCalman