Soil Health day

On Thursday 19th January Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF), Innovation for Agriculture and Action for the River Kennet (ARK) help a farmer meeting here on the farm to discuss cover crops and soil health. The day started with a quick trip around the farm to look at some of our cover crops growing in the field and to discuss our move over the last three years to a No-Till system incorporating cover crops and crop rotation changes. Seeing how soil health is starting to change and improve, with signs like worm casts increasingly obvious.
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We then moved inside, to hear about some research work being carried out by CSF into the effects of cover crops on nutrient leaching and river pollution, which is showing some expected but pleasing results. This was then followed by the main event. Stephen Briggs and Georgia Eclair-Heath from Innovation for Agriculture talking about soil health. IMG_0512
Concentrating mainly on the link between healthy soil biology, its interaction with plants and how to improve the link. Stephen who is an organic farmer and soil scientist spoke with enthusiasm and knowledge which kept 47 farmers and land managers interested and we all away with a far greater understanding of what goes on below ground in our fields, but well aware that there is so much that we do not yet know and how much more there is to understand about the world below our feet. Learning the importance of the whole “soil food web” and the likes of Mycorrhizal fungi.
Meanwhile the sheep are still grazing cover crops, while the spring calving cows have come into the sheds ready for calving to start within the next couple of weeks.