old technology for deep coring soil samples

The standard way to measure and monitor soils has been through soils samples taken to 15-30cm in representative W patterns.

A range of technologies are now available commercially and in development to provide higher resolution data across a wider range of metrics.

This page provides a space to share and discuss the available and coming tools, services and technologies.

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Methods have been developed for physical assessment of soil structure and soil health, including the Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) and the Visual Estimate of Soil Structure (VESS), which is being brought together with earthworm assessment in the AHDB's Soil Health Scorecard. 

Precision soil mapping services include Precision Decisions, SOYL, Soil EssentialsKeith Mount Liming where soils samples are linked to GPS locations to allow variable rate applications of P, K, Mg and lime, as well as quantifying soil texture and soil organic matter.  


Soil electrical conductivity relates to soil water content and hence can be used to assess variability in soil texture across fields, either using electromagnetic inducton (EMI) or through direct contact as in the Veris scanner.

The SoilOptix system available in UK as Terramap from Omnia Precision uses gamma-ray detection technology to allow high resolution estimation of a range of soil nutrients and properties.

There are a wide range of in situ soil moisture meters that have long been available and can now be linked and networked to weather stations such as SenCrop.

Soil nitrate sensors have been in development for many years.


Monitoring Soil Carbon

Given the interest in increasing storage of carbons in soils, and the possible payment for this and associated needs for verification, many technologies are being developed to more easily measure soil carbon.  There is lots of interest in doing this from satellites via remote sensing (eg Downforce), though whether this can give the differentiation and precision required for UK systems is yet to be proven. 

Interesting technologies being developed include Yardstick


Monitoring Soil Biology

Increasingly tests are being developed and used to assess the microbial activity of soils, Solvita tests of CO2 respiration, available as part of NRM's soil health report.

Others include the BeCrop test from Biome Makers


Share below whats missing, or your experiences with these technologies. 


New Technologies

Stenon soil sensor 


Carbon Asset Solutions


Related Organisations

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Connected Content

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. 

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.

Today’s farmers keenly understand their roles as custodians of our farmed environment. Agriculture is a vital industry in East Anglia, but in the driest region in the UK water supplies are precious and needs safeguarding.  Anglian Water is working closely with farmers to ensure that we maintain healthy water quality as well as healthy crops and a healthy rural economy.

The agri-tech sector is vibrant and growing, with many exciting companies, organisations and networks are working to develop agri-tech solutions.

There is a lot of interest in soil carbon currently, due to the opportunity to store and sequester carbon in soil. It is also vital for soil health, forming part of soil organic matter.

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. 

The VESS is a semi-formal approach to assessing soil structure, first developed by SRUC.

Soilmentor helps you learn what healthy soils and flourishing biodiversity look like on your farm. Understand changes on your land above & below ground, make informed decisions and keep everyone in the loop.

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

A range of digital technologies promise to transform agriculture, including sensing, robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless networks & IoT, big data, decision support tools, modelling, digital twins and precision farming. 

Many technologies now exist to monitor land at a range from scales, from hand-held sensors and simple cameras, through tractor mounted sensors, drones, aeroplanes through to satellites.

Precision farming involves the use of GPS, sensing and control technologies to use spatial data to manage soils, crops and livestock. 

Precision farming software and services integrating layers of data.

Established in 1971, Cambridge based Delta-T Devices specialises in measurement sensors and monitoring systems for agriculture and horticulture.

As pioneers in UK precision farming since 1993 we know the difference between sustainable improvements to crop production and the latest trends. Our early commitment to the principle of applying inputs at the right rate and in the right place led the way for 20 years of scientific innovation. Today, SOYL still leads the way and our commercial services are backed by the UK’s largest precision farming specific research and development programme.

Results from an Innovative Farmers Field Lab with University of Lincoln and Anglian Water showed benefits from drilling rather than broadcasting to establish a catch crop.   

Guidance from AHDB to help adapt arable cultivations on a rotational basis Download the Guide, watch videos and use the tools.

Hill Court Farm Research Ltd offers independent research, consultancy and analytical services for agriculture, horticulture and the environment.


Routine topsoil samples should be taken from all fields for analysis of pH, P, K and Mg every 3-5 years. Accurate information on soil nutrient Indices and soil pH is essential for nutrient management planning. Various approaches and services are now available for in field mapping of soil nutrient availability. 

Precision farming specialists

Measurement and forecasting of weather is a major interest in agriculture

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Open access text book comprehensively reviewing advances in potassium science and potash fertilizer . Murrell, T.S., Mikkelsen, R., Sulewski, G., Norton, R., Thompson, M. (2020) Improving Potassium Recommendations for Agricultural Crops. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59197-7

With soil health promoted as being key to future agricultural policy (plus new measures of succes

Scientific paper from

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