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Soil Association calls for farmers to 'save our soils'

Policy makers and farmers are being urged to ’Save Our Soils’ with new guidelines from the Soil Association

Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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There are seven areas outlined in the document aimed at saving the UK's soils
There are seven areas outlined in the document aimed at saving the UK's soils
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Help UK agriculture and #SaveOurSoils with @SoilAssociation

Seven Ways to Save our Soils - help UK soil see more than 100 harvests @SoilAssociation

Farmers and policy makers are being called upon to do their bit to protect UK soils.

 

Research carried out in 2014 stated the country will only see 100 more harvests if soil loss and degradation continues at its current rate.

 

The Soil Association has released a document entitled ’Seven Ways to Save Our Soils’ which outlines seven key ways to increase soil organic matter (SOM) in UK arable and horticultural soils by 20 per cent over the next 20 years.

 

Liz Bowles, head of farming at the Soil Association said: "Unintended consequences of current soil management practice has led to the perilous state of UK soils today.

 

"We need to ensure farmers have the right understanding and guidance to change this and improve the health of our soils."

 

 


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The seven areas outlined are:

  • Increasing the amount of plant and animal matter going back onto fields
  • Improving soil health monitoring nationwide
  • Encouraging soil organisms
  • Covering up bare soil with continuous plant cover
  • Bringing more trees onto farmland
  • Reducing soil compaction from livestock and machinery
  • Introducing crop rotations designed to improve soil health

 

Government input

Government input

Ms Bowles continued: " As well as providing guidance for farmers, we are asking the Government to improve incentives for farming practices which promote healthy soils and to fund research which will fill the gaps in demonstrating the real-world advantages of such practices for farmers.

 

"We need the Government to commit to our target of increasing soil organic matter by 20 per cent over the next 20 years."

 

All the areas which already use organic farming techniques, have soil health at the heart of their farming practices.

 

It has therefore been suggested that increased support for organic farming should be a key part of the solution to improve soil health.

 

But non-organic farmers also have a lot to gain by adopting the suggested methods, in particular

 

  • reduced costs from chemical inputs
  • a better understanding of their crops and soils
  • and land which is more resilient to climate change

The Soil Association is challenging the Government and farmers to play their part in saving the UK's soil and preserving the future for agriculture.

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