Healthy Grassland Soils: new on-line resource

A new online resource, Healthy Grassland Soils, will help grassland farmers manage the soil on their farm more effectively.
DairyCo and EBLEX have co-funded the project to ensure producers have the tools to study soil properties then choose the best, and least, damaging management practices. Improving soil structure and conserving biological activity has been proven to support better plant growth, forage quality and thus profits. It can also minimise the negative impacts on the environment which can follow poor soil management.

The Healthy Grassland Soils online resource has an array of information for producers including, advice on soil biology, videos and downloads.

“Understanding the soil on your farm is fundamental to profitable grassland farming. A survey of 300 grassland fields funded by Defra indicated only 40 per cent of them had good soil structure,” said Dr Liz Genever, EBLEX livestock scientist.”Estimates suggest soil compaction alone can cost up to £250/hectare/year – therefore understanding what state your soil is in and making improvements as necessary can have huge financial benefit.”

“Soil is one of the most important assets farmers have. It is unique in each field; it’s dynamic and changes constantly. Ultimately, the health of the soil underpins the health of the pasture and livestock,” added DairyCo research and development manager Dr Debbie McConnell.

A Grassland Soils Guide, with four quick steps to assess soil structure, is also available for producers to download and use to carry out in-field assessments. A handy pocketbook combines the information on the website for producers to keep with them on the go.

Both the Grassland Soils Guide and the pocketbook can be ordered by emailing brp@eblex.ahdb.org.uk

The resources have been compiled from information drawn from published literature and farm practice by SRUC, ADAS and Newcastle University as part of a series of projects funded by DairyCo and EBLEX.

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