Soil handful

Tell us how you are improving your soils. Share useful resources, organisations and initiatives.

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GWCT is a leading UK charity conducting conservation science to enhance the British countryside for public benefit.

Soil is an essential natural resource for all farmers. Over recent years many initiatives have sought to provide information and advice on soils and Soil Health, notably AHDB Great Soils. 

Regenerative farming looks to optimise the use of the ecological system and environment, in order to benefit from the natural ecosystem services that they provide.

The Farming and Land Use Team at the Soil Association have a specialist knowledge of all UK agricultural sectors as well as in depth understanding of organic and agroecological food production systems. Our goal is to support organic and non-organic farmers alike to transition towards more sustainable practices.

Practical sustainable farming regardless of labels.

Catchment Sensitive Farming is a free farm advice programme funded by the UK government. It works with farmers, communities, and organisations across England to improve the quality of water, air, and sustainable water management.

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.

Soil health has been broken down into measurable parts to help farmers optimise crop and grassland productivity. As part of the Soil Biology and Soil Health Partnership, a project in the AHDB & BBRO GREAT Soils programme, guidance and protocols have been issued to help practitioners benchmark their soils

The intricate web of relationships between physical, chemical and biological soil components underpins crop and livestock health and productivity.

Agroecology is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Definition from FAO.

Helping you protect your soil and improve its productivity.  AHDB's GREATSoils inititiative brings together practical information on soil management as well as links to soils research and knowledge exchange. Whether you need an introduction to soil biology or a detailed guide to improving field drainage, AHDB has information and guidance to support you. 

Guidance from AHDB GREATSoils giving four easy-to-follow steps for assessing soil structure. 

Share your ideas and experience of how to improve nutrient efficiency and reduce dependence on artificial fertilisers

Cover crops are grown primarily to ‘protect or improve’ soils between periods of regular crop production. They can be effective at improving soil functions by increasing soil nutrient and water retention, improving soil structure/quality, reducing the risk of soil erosion, surface run-off and diffuse pollution by providing soil cover and by managing weeds or soil-borne pests.  

The Claydon Opti-Till® System, is a holistic approach to crop establishment which delivers consistent, high yielding crops at low cost, providing maximum profitability. At the centre of Opti-Till® Seed Drilling System is the Claydon direct strip Hybrid drill, with its unique leading tine technology.

Share resources, groups and projects that you've found helpful for soil management.

Soil biology includes a variety of soil microbes, bacteria and larger fauna such as earthworms and collembolans.

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is the UK's leading independent organic research organisation. Changing the future of food and farming.

Help us collate the knowledge sources, organisations and initiatives out there that are seeking to improve the farmed environment

Interesting discussions on policy, farming and environment with Defra's Future Farming & Countryside Programme Director Janet Hughes

There are 2 separate licensing regimes relating to cannabis cultivation, according to whether the varieties cultivated (high or low THC (as differentiated in the Misuse of Drugs (Fees) Regulations 2010)) and, for ‘low THC varieties, the intended ‘end use’. This factsheet may also be read in conjunction with published guidance relating to cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. (Home Office)

Understanding the factors that impact nutrient use efficiency (NUE) is key to improving nutrient management planning.

Soilscapes is a 1:250,000 scale, simplified soils dataset covering England and Wales.

A farmer-led guide to cover cropping in the UK

A well-managed cover crop can conserve and protect the soil, boost productivity, capture nitrogen and phosphorus leftover from a main crop or from fall applied manure, and if harvested in the spring, provide additional forage for dairy cattle and other livestock.

Interested in learning more about home grown protein crops but don’t know where to look?

On many arable farms, modern agricultural production has seen the continual removal of residues and intensive tillage of the soil.

This report reviews the economic benefits that can be achieved from reduced tillage.

There is no shortage of information available on cover crops. However, successfully integrating cover crops into arable rotations, while understanding and navigating the positive and negative impacts can be difficult.

Nitrogen (N) is not a scarce element on earth but the most abundant forms (N2 gas in the atmosphere and N fixed in the earth’s crust and sediments) are not directly available for plants.

Every farm and field is different, with a wide interplay of different factors impacting on optimum soil management between them.

Applying soil health principles at scale is a challenge, with many farmers looking to stop ploughing but still relying on chemical weed killers and those unwilling to use chemical weed killers still relying on ploughing.

Technical Guide

 Sheep and arable farmers lack insight into each other’s work and viewpoint on cover crop.

Through Innovative Farmers, a group of organic and conventional farmers have teamed up with the Organic Research Centre and AHDB to investigate how to grow living mulches.

Shaping our relationship to the soil.

A practical guide to soil and system improvement

Soil organic matter (SOM) serves as an important indicator of soil health.

Adding organic materials can potentially lead to better drainage, more resilient soil, more efficient irrigation, higher crop yields and better crop quality.

The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is delighted to announce the next Zoom into Soil webinar will take place on Wednesday 7 February from 12:00 - 1:00pm (UK time) and is free of charge to register.

This OGA webinar will give an overview of mechanised tillage, from bed preparation to weed control, looking at cultivation tools and their use in various contexts.

A mixed farming system, based around livestock and cropping, is a fundamental part of organic, agroecological and regenerative farming.

This webinar will be comprised of three presentations. Matteo Poggia, Agrocares, Netherlands will describe Practical application of fusing spectroscopic techniques in routine soil analysis: Lab-in-a-Box (LiaB) concept. This will be followed by Prof. Uri Yermiyahu, Volcani Institute, Israel and  Sanjay Namdev Biradar, ICL Fertilisers India who will present the science and operational experiences of the ICLeaf crop leaf scanning technology.

The UKSO map viewer is easy to use and has some of the most accurate and comprehensive available to view and use for free!

Good cover crop destruction will help to pave the way for successful spring cover crop establishment.

Discover how, why, and when field drainage is important, as well as best practice for installation, maintenance and repairs.

This Best4Soil video provides an introduction to the topic of soil organic matter, benefits and how to protect and increase soil organic matter on your field. At the end of the video, you will find additional information on these topics.

Cover crops and green manures have multiple positive effects on the soil health. But like all methods, this best practice has also some disadvantages.

The objective of this farmer-led research trial was to investigate a new approach to winter feed provision for livestock that considers the overall health of the farm system, including soil health, biodiversity, animal welfare, farmer welfare and economic sustainability.

Cover crops should be viewed as a long-term investment in improved soil health and farm management. 

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